What is the Ice Age Trail?
Well, the Ice Age Trail is one of only eleven National Scenic Trails in the whole United States! That is pretty awesome for the state of Wisconsin, but even better for the communities that have direct access to the trail. The Ice Age Trail is a 1,000 mile footpath that stretches and meanders its way through Wisconsin. The trail follows the path of the ancient icy glaciers that moved and sculpted the Kettle Moraine State Forest! To learn more about glaciers and how they shaped Wisconsin’s hilly landscape, check out this video! (it’s perfect for kids) The Ice Age Trail is maintained and improved by the wonderful members of the Ice Age Trail Alliance. In 2016 alone, the Ice Age Trail Alliance had over 265,000 volunteer hours!
Becoming an Ice Age Trail Community
On November 2nd, Whitewater officially became a Ice Age Trail Community! That is big news for Whitewater because, it opens the doors to a magnitude of possibilities when it comes to outdoor education! The main purpose of a Ice Age Trail Community is to cultivate a symbiotic relationship between the Ice Age Trail Alliance and the communities that it goes through! It allows the awareness of the trail to grow, but also works toward beneficial partnerships between everyone utilizing the trail. Now that Whitewater had became a Ice Age Trail Community, events are already being planned to help people fully experience all the 1,000 mile footpath has to offer!
To see what went into becoming a Ice Age Trail Community, check out the application!
Check out the many ways in which you can use and help the Ice Age Trail!
Give some of your time back to the wonderful organization that makes the 1,000 mile footpath accessible to all! The Ice Age Trail Alliance welcomes all volunteers with varying ability levels. Even walking the trail and picking up trash along the way helps keep the trail clean and safe for us and its natural inhabitants. Whitewater representatives like Dr. Kelly Hatch, an education professor at the University of Whitewater, gives back to the trail! Professor Hatch teaches a class among the leaves of the Ice Age Trail during the fall semester! The students learn how to integrate nature and outdoor activities into educational programming. Along with their academics, the students give hours back to the Ice Age Trail Alliance by grooming trails, and even building and installing wooden boardwalk! So, grab some friends, or take some time away from your busy schedule, and relax while you enjoy Whitewater’s natural backyard!
For information on how to volunteer, visit the Ice Age Trail website!
Get Out and Hike
The Ice Age Trail has a lot to offer when it comes to hiking and outdoor activities. Even with winter coming up, the trail offers plenty of places to snowshoe and ski! Within Walworth county alone, there are plenty of spots to hop onto the Ice Age Trail. Right on Highway 12, there is a perfect spot to park your car and take a stroll through the woods. However, a state parking sticker is required to park in the lot. Stickers are purchasable at the location! To look at a map of the trail, check out their online map!
The Ice Age Trail Alliance already has plenty of resources online to help you plan your hike! They have itineraries for your hike, day hike options, and longer trips already planned. All you have to do is visit their site to get started! Check it out!
Local Events & Hikes
Check out events happening on the Whitewater segment of the Ice Age Trail!
Guided Weekly Hikes
Tuesdays ~ 4:00 PM
Wednesdays ~ 10:30 AM
Meet at Hwy 12 Parking Lot
May 6, 2018 at 3:00 PM: Whitewater Ice Age Trail Community Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
The Whitewater Tourism Council and the Ice Age Trail Alliance would love for everyone to join at Cravath Lakefront Park for the ribbon cutting ceremony! There will be light refreshments provided, a guided hike and kids crafts! What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than outside enjoying the beautiful Ice Age Trail.
June 2, 2018 at 8:00-10:00 AM: National Trails Day & Children’s Hike
The Whitewater Tourism Council and the Ice Age Trail Alliance are offering two hikes (2 miles & 20 miles). Each hike will be led by a hike leader and each would all end up at the Oleson Log Cabin. At the cabin, the hike leader will have a key available for viewing the cabin. Participants are encouraged to bring a pot luck dish to pass. Shuttle services will be available. Free parking for the whole day (no state sticker required)!
September 29, 2018 10:00 AM: National Public Lands Day Honoring Norwin Watson
The Whitewater Tourism Council and the Ice Age Trail Alliance will offer a hike (2 miles & 7 miles) led by a member of the Ice Age Trail Alliance. All hikes end at the Oleson Log Cabin, which will be available for viewing. Participants should bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the cabin grounds following their hike. Shuttle services from the cabin grounds will be available.