Section- and Thru-Hiking

Nearly 100 people have hiked the entire Ice Age Trail, some in a continuous, one-season adventure ("thru-hikers") and some in bits and pieces ("section hikers").

If you are thinking about taking on the challenge to hike the whole Trail, know that research and planning are key aspects of successful long-distance hiking. Please give us a call (800-227-0046) so that we can give you an overview of distance hiking on the Ice Age Trail and point you in the direction of a variety of helpful resources.

Considerations and Resources

For starters, check out the pages on our website designed for hikers of all distances:

Because the Ice Age Trail is not yet complete, and because not all portions of the Trail have convenient camping options for backpackers, one of the biggest challenges faced by Ice Age Trail long-distance hikers is where to stay at the end of each day. Our Ice Age Trail Atlas and Ice Age Trail Companion Guide are indispensable resources in this regard. The Atlas uses a particular pattern of shading to indicate where primitive camping is permitted and shows the location of other types of camping on or near the Ice Age Trail route. The Companion Guide lists camping and lodging options (with contact info) for each Trail segment.

In addition to the official record of the Ice Age Trail recorded in our two guidebooks, members of our long-distance hiking community have developed and maintain many helpful "unofficial" resources to aid fellow hikers. Examples of these resources include:

  • Mileage-tracking spreadsheets designed specfically for long-distance hikers.
  • "Insider tips" on town services, resupply info and camping options.
  • A database of other long-distance hikers currently navigating the Ice Age Trail.
  • A poster-sized Thousand-Miler Map & Checklist you can use to track your progress.

If you are interested in getting plugged in to these resources and the Ice Age Trail long-distance hiker community, send us an email ( or give us a call (800-227-0046) and we can put you in touch with one of our avid long-distance hikers.

Thousand-Miler Recognition

For those thinking of hiking the entire Ice Age Trail route and those who have already accomplished it, please read on to learn about our Thousand-Miler program. It doesn't matter if you hike the entire Trail all in one trip or segment by segment over time. If you cover the entire Ice Age Trail route and fill out a Thousand-Miler application, we will:

  • Recognize you at our Annual Membership Conference
  • Present you with a Thousand-Miler certificate and patch
  • Recognize you in Mammoth Tales magazine
  • Add your name to the official database of Ice Age Trail Thousand-Milers

With regard to Thousand-Milers, the Ice Age Trail Alliance operates on the honor system, assuming that applicants for Thousand-Miler status have hiked all thousand-plus miles of the Ice Age Trail route between Potawatomi and Interstate state parks. Hiking the entire Ice Age Trail route is necessary to qualify — this includes all yellow-blazed Ice Age Trail segments and the unmarked connecting routes that link the segments. Issues of sequence, direction, speed, length of time or whether one carries a pack or not are not considered. Please respect these standards, as they are essential to the integrity of the true achievement of being a Thousand-Miler. Most importantly, happy hiking!

If you're ready to document your trip for our records, please click here to download the Thousand-Miler application.

Thousand-Milers Through the Years

To see the full list of Thousand-Milers through the years, click here.