Hiking in the fall is one of my husband and mine favorite activities. Every weekend from the sign of the first turn of color till the last leaf drops we are hiking in our beautiful state of Wisconsin enjoying the fall colors. For the next few weeks, I will be filling my blog with the beautiful colors of fall in Wisconsin and sharing information on the hikes we took.
For our first week of hiking, we decided to go north. The colors up north always turn first, so it made the most sense to go north then gradually work our way south down the state. We made plans to spend the day in Brunet Island State Park, but after attending church services in the area, a congregant told us about the Ice Age Trail nearby. Now, you can't live in Wisconsin without hearing about the Ice Age Trail as it covers pretty much half the state, but we had no idea that we could hike a portion of this trail only about an hour and a half from our home.
The Ice Age Trail
If you look at the map below, the green line is the Ice Age Trail. We live in the area south of Chippewa Falls, so we caught a portion of the trail in New Auburn. The Ice Age Trail is 1200 miles long. If you were tempted to hike the entire trail, it typically takes 7 to 12 weeks. The record is 22 days and was set by Jason Dorgan in 2007.
Now because we weren't planning on hiking this trail today, we decided to just explore a very short loop behind the parking lot of the Chippewa Moraine Ice Age Center and return and hike a 4.5 mile loop the following weekend (which you will see in next week's travel post).
This trail is very easy! Even when we returned the following weekend and did the 4.5 loop I thought it was very easy. It is mostly a flat, level walk with small inclines here and there. It is well marked with trail markings high on the trees so you won't get lost when all the leaves cover the trail path.
The trail has many rustic bridges making perfect photo opportunities!
I think the thing that struck us the most about this trail was how many lakes there were! I couldn't copy and paste a map of the trail to my blog to save my life, but if you look at this map HERE, there are more lakes than you can possibly count. The trail winds around all these lakes so you almost constantly have a view of water somewhere on this trail.
The fall foliage was so incredible both weekends we were there. It was mostly yellows with a few oranges here and there, but then we ran into another hiker and she said just the week before the forest was all red. I will have to remember that for next year, to go even earlier in the season and see the red colors!
My favorite part of the lakes was seeing the mirror image of the fall tree foliage in the water.
Birch trees are always one of my favorite fall trees. I love the contrast of the white park against all the beautiful colors.
Is this a magical photo or what? I am literally engulfed by a sea of color!
We took the Dry Ice Age Trail back to our car to finish the loop. It provided a different change of scenery looking out into open land, gorgeous grasses, and scenic vistas of changing leaves.
Brunet Island State Park
Our next stop was Brunet Island State Park. We were only here for a very short time and only hiked one very small trail call the Jean Brunet Nature Trail, but boy was it worth it!
This trail is absolutely stunning in the fall. I felt I was in a magical fairly land the entire time I was there!
Most of the park is essentially an Island and the Jean Brunet Nature Trail takes the hiker along the shore line of the peaks of the island with views of two other islands (see map HERE).
Because you're seeing two other islands from the peak of the one you're standing on, the views are absolutely breath taking!
I loved this little spot in the trail where the forest trees were closing in on us. It felt we were entering a magical spot in the forest.
I hope you enjoyed my fall pictures and that you also are getting out and enjoying the fall colors if they have them where you live. I will back next week with more fall hiking experiences, and in many weeks to follow.
Have A Great Day! Amy
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