Hiking Awards and Programs

Participating in our chapter Hike-A-Segment programs or our ColdCache program are great ways to experience the Ice Age Trail within the context of a unique program while earning fun rewards to boot. While hiking the entire Ice Age Trail is a special reward in and of itself, those who apply for Thousand-Miler recognition will receive official certification of joining the ranks of Ice Age Trail Thousand-Milers. Read on to discover how you can get involved in one of our programs.

Chapter Hike-a-Segment Programs

Would you like to be a Traprock Trekker, Superior Lobetrotter or Walk the Wauker? These are just a few of the awards you can earn along the Ice Age Trail by completing all of the Trail miles that lie within a participating chapter's geographical area of responsibility.

Just complete a registration form, available from the chapters listed below, and mail it in with the nominal fee. Maps, hiking information and a hiking log will be mailed back to you. Simply log your progress, send it back to the chapter and you will receive a recognition and an award.

Cold Cache Program

ColdCaching is an exciting new way to explore and learn about the many fascinating natural features along the thousand-mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail. If you are looking for a family-friendly activity providing the opportunity to experience the thrill of a treasure hunt, learn important navigational skills and develop an appreciation for Wisconsin's fascinating Ice Age history, ColdCaching is for you!

What is ColdCaching?

The concept of Ice Age Trail ColdCaching is based on the popular activities of GeoCaching and EarthCaching.

  • GeoCaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek "caches" containing a logbook and "treasure" (usually toys or trinkets of little value).
  • EarthCaching is a similar to GeoCaching, except participants seek out natural features instead of human-placed caches.
  • ColdCaching is a type of EarthCaching in which participants seek out natural features along the Ice Age Trail.

As a ColdCaching participant, you can choose from a list of compelling Ice Age Trail landmarks (ColdCaches) to seek out. Some examples of the types of features you can search for are shown in our list of feature types. Once the ColdCache is discovered, you are asked to perform a simple task and/or answer a question related to the site to verify your find. As you investigate more and more sites, you can earn more and more ColdCache awards. You can also participate by developing new ColdCaches for others to seek out.

ColdCaching helps the Ice Age Trail Alliance pursue its mission of creating, supporting and protecting the Ice Age Trail. It provides a family-friendly way to explore the Ice Age Trail and learn about both Wisconsin's Ice Age history and modern-day landscape. The ColdCache program raises the profile of the Ice Age Trail among the growing EarthCaching community while attracting another group greatly increasing in numbers: users of GPS technology. Additionally, ColdCaching is consistent with Leave No Trace outdoor ethics in that participants leave only footprints on the landscape as part of their activities.

Before Getting Started

Because ColdCaching is an Ice Age Trail activity, for starters you'll need to be able to locate the Trail. Our Ice Age Trail Companion Guide and Ice Age Trail Atlas are the best resources for finding and navigating the Trail. Be sure to also check our Trail Map and Current Conditions page before heading out. A GPS unit is a useful aid for ColdCaching, but is not essential.

Before setting out for any Ice Age Trail hike, we recommend browsing our Plan a Hike page.

Finding a ColdCache

If you're ready to start hunting for ColdCaches, visit the Geocaching.com website for the list of ColdCache sites. On your first visit, you'll need to create an account with Geocaching.com in order to see the full details (including location information) for each ColdCache.

Each ColdCache includes instructions for performing a simple task or answering a couple questions, or both, in order to verify your find.

New sites will be added frequently, so check back regularly for new ColdCaches to explore.

Earning an Award

As you find more and more ColdCaches, you can register for the ColdCache awards program to receive patches recognizing your prowess as a ColdCache hunter. Simply download the awards program log and you're ready to go!

    Level I
    Level II
    Level III
    Level IV
    Level V
    • Level I: Snowflake. A water crystal that forms in the atmosphere and falls to the earth. Visit and log three ColdCache sites representing at least two different feature types.
    • Level II: Blizzard. A long, severe snowstorm with intensely cold wind and fine snow. Visit and log seven ColdCache sites representing at least five different feature types.
    • Level III: Firn. Partially consolidated snow that has passed through one summer melt season, but is not yet glacial ice. Visit and log 12 ColdCache sites representing at least 9 different feature types.
    • Level IV: Ice Sheet. A broad, thick sheet of ice covering an extensive area for a long period of time. Visit and log 18 ColdCache sites representing at least 14 different feature types.
    • Level V: Glacier. An extended mass of ice, formed from snow falling and accumulating over years, that flows over a land mass. Visit and log 25 ColdCache sites representing at least 20 different feature types.

    Please note that the ColdCache awards program is not linked to your account at geocaching.com. That is, even as you register sites as "found" on your geocaching.com account, you'll need to notify the ColdCache coordinator via the awards program log to quality for ColdCache patches.

    Developing a ColdCache

    In addition to participating in ColdCaching by searching for ColdCaches, you can also play a valuable role in the program by developing new sites for others to investigate.

    If you are interested in helping out, write to the ColdCache coordinator at coldcache@iceagetrail.org. The coordinator will walk you through the process of developing a ColdCache using the following guidelines and forms:

    Guidelines for Developing a ColdCache Site
    Site Development Tasks
    Field Notes
    Placement Authorization
    DNR GeoCache Placement Notification
    EarthCache Submittal Form

    For More Information

    For questions about any aspect of the ColdCache program, contact the program coordinator by writing to coldcache@iceagetrail.org.

    Thousand-Miler Recognition

    Plan on hiking the entire Ice Age Trail? Become a Thousand-Miler so we may honor your feat — and your feet! Visit our Section- and Thru-Hiking page for all the details.