Trail Conditions

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Volunteer Chapters, Trail Conditions, Storm Damage

Tornado damage along County Highway F just north of the John Muir Segment in Marquette County. Photo by thru-hiker, Jason Pursell.

Trail Condition Highlights

Parnell Segment: 

The Parnell Segment near Butler Lake was hit hard during an August 31st storm which produced high winds and tornados and many trees were blown down. While the staff of the Kettle Moraine State Forest-Northern Unit have downplayed the extent of the damage, hiker reports (as recently as 11/02/2018) indicate the route is still extremely treacherous and it is exceedingly easy to get lost. The on-going IATA  recommendation is to avoid the Parnell Segment at this point in time.

Firth Lake Segment:

A portion of the Firth Lake Segment in Chippewa County has been closed by a private landowner. In order to bypass that segment, which extends from east of Firth Lake SIATA and Chippewa County Forest to about 1 mile west of Hwy CC, it is necessary to bypass everything between Hwy CC and Firth Lake. Continue reading

60 Successful Years!

Ice Age Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Mobile Skills Crew, Cross Plains Segment

Photos by Cameron Gillie of

The Ice Age Trail Alliance supporters, staff, and community members had lots to celebrate August 8-12 during our Ice Age Trail Days.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail, Ray Zillmer

Ice Age Trail Alliance founder, Ray Zillmer.

Beginning with the dream of a single individual, Ray Zillmer who, in 1958, envisioned the Ice Age Trail and established what would become the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Fast forward 60 years and the Ice Age Trail is one of only eleven National Scenic Trails in the United States and the Alliance its strongest advocate. Continue reading

Mud, Rain, and Slab Hill

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Mobile Skills Crew Project, Walla Hi SegmentDespite rain and challenging conditions, our third MSC event in 15 months at Walla Hi County Park was a great success. Hardy volunteers, 79 in total, helped create and open for business a new, signature section of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Over the course of three and a half days and 1,908 volunteer hours, a little over a half-mile of spectacular new trail, one that beguiles the imagination, emerged from within a 15-foot wide trail easement. Slab Hill – the steep pitch that rises 47% over 80 linear feet – will forever be a focal point for trail users. Telling of the skill and dedication of the builders are found in the subtleties – trail drainage dips, well-crafted tread, thoughtful trail signage, and the scores of invasive plants eradicated.  Continue reading

Cross Plains Will Soon Host a New Segment of Ice Age Trail

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Cross Plains Conservancy, Mobile Skills Crew event

Sandstone rock outcroppings will soon be given their due. Corridor clearing for new Ice Age Trail will highlight these lovely landscape features. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Trailbuilding Event & Celebration
Cross Plains Segment
August 8 – 12, 2018
Dane County
Project Area Map [PDF]

Light the Candles for a mile of NEW Ice Age Trail, the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, and the 60th birthday of the Ice Age Trail Alliance!!!

It’s not often we get to rub shoulders with the folks who will benefit most directly from our efforts. Yet, trailbuilding in collaboration with a Trail Community affords us this opportunity. Week-long, we’ll gather with residents of the Village of Cross Plains, sustainable farming practitioners, outdoor retailers, elected officials and other trail enthusiasts from near and far to celebrate the splendor and diversity of Wisconsin, the Ice Age Trail, and the soul shaking experience of all stripes of people of all ages and all walks of life coming together over the span of 60 years to make real a shared vision for long distance hiking, conservation, and community. Continue reading

Ice Age Trail Days

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age Trail DaysIce Age Trail Days 60th Anniversary Party!

Date: Wednesday, August 8 – Sunday, August 12

Location: Village of Cross Plains


  • Trailbuilding, August 8 – 12
  • Live music, exhibits, and farm-to-table dinner, August 10
  • Hikes and Workshops, August 11

Download a complete Schedule of Events [PDF]

Ice Age Trail Days event details HERE; grab your ticket for the dinner, hurry…limited seating

Summer Party T-Shirts

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Seek Dry Goods, Corporate Partners

Perfect for festivals and back yard barbecues this line of summer Ts will help you survive a muggy Wisconsin heat wave. They’re also good for showing off your Ice Age Trail Pride. Change into one after a productive Trail Improvement day – know you clean up good. Slip one on before you head out to a summer party. Save the Date – see the list below. 

The Ice Age Trail Alliance partnered with Seek Dry Goods, an up and coming outdoor apparel company who caters to Seekers; people who are passionate and obsessive about the outdoors.

Seek is celebrating one full year in business. We’re celebrating 60 years as an organization. Seems like a good time to host a couple of parties – you’re invited, by-the-way. Continue reading

Wigwam Swag – Socks!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Wigwam, Corporate FriendsWigwam regularly engages with enthusiast fans of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail by giving away socks at Alliance events like the Be FREE Trailtessa trail running workshop, the Annual Conference, National Public Lands Day stewardship event, and by offering a multitude of coupons for Mobile Skills Crew volunteers.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Wigwam, Corporate Friends

Ice Age Trail socks by Wigwam can be found here along with an assortment of color options.

Trail Friends support Friends of the Trail; checkout Wigwam and get yourself a pair of socks.

Friend of the Ice Age Trail Award 2017

Fontana Sports Specialties was the 2017 recipient of the Friends of the Ice Age Trail award. As Luke Kloberdanz, Director of Philanthropy wrote in his nomination of Fontana:

“One fine example of Fontana Sports Specialties’ dedication to being a Friend of the Trail is this: Since 2014 Fontana Sports has hosted two fundraising events annually for the Alliance which focus on putting people directly on the Trail. The first event is an evening trail run called the Headlamp Hustle. The second event is a fall trail run titled Fall Colors Run. While these events benefit the Alliance financially (with a total contribution of well over $10,000), they represent the purest form of engagement found in Alliance work, putting people directly into contact with the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Each event hosts over 100 participants as they enjoy some of the most challenging sections of the Trail to run. Despite the grueling nature of the routes, every participant arrives at the finish line with a sense of appreciation for what the Trail brings to the lives of people and communities across the state.” Continue reading

Mudbrook Bridge Ready for Summer Hiking

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Harwood Lakes Mobile Skills Crew event, MSC

Volunteers working on the Harwood Lakes Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail make phenomenal progress as they build a new bridge across the marsh. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Sometimes the best person to summarize a project’s outcome is the boots-on-the-ground chapter leader who was involved with every aspect. Richard Smith offers this recap of the Harwood Lakes MSC event:

“The newly constructed Mudbrook bridge midway between Plummer Lake Road and Deer Fly Trail offers a spectacular view of the wetland in the Mudbrook floodplain, and provides a solid and dry passage through the area. It replaces a bridge and rickety boardwalk conglomeration that has traversed the combination of wetland and beaver dams and which was well beyond “end of life.” Continue reading

Save the LWCF

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Land and Water Conservation Fund, #SaveLWCF

A footbridge beckons in the lush forest along the Chippewa River Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. (Photo by Cameron Gillie)

The Ice Age Trail Alliance has worked tirelessly toward completion of a contiguous Trail through Wisconsin. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been indispensable to that effort, investing more than $14.5M in permanently protecting the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

These LWCF investments are critical funding to fill in gaps, extend the Trail and protect a continuous corridor, and have also served as the catalyst for leveraging federal investment with State, city, county, and private dollars at a rate of 2.5 to 1. Continue reading

Thinking Beyond the Blaze: IAT-U

Ice Age Trail University, IAT-U, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Volunteers gather around to learn the finer points of tread construction from Tim Malzhan, Director of Trail Operations for the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Photo by Cameron Gillie.

Private citizens coming together to create a public resource is an astonishingly complex undertaking. The momentous scale of developing and stewarding the Ice Age National Scenic Trail  requires a shared vision for the Ice Age Trail and the skills and resources necessary to bring that vision to life.  It isn’t easy, but it happens one volunteer, one steward, at a time. It happens during Ice Age Trail University (IAT-U).  Continue reading

3,000 Feet of Hard-Won Tread!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ringle Segment, Mobile Skills Crew event,

Hard-won tread now winds through Marathon County along the rerouted Ringle Segment. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Massive undertakings are best tackled in small bites. Thanks to those who joined  us at the Ringle Segment Mobile Skills Crew event, that small bite resulted in more than 3,000 feet of new, hard-won tread anchoring phase two of the revamped Ringle Segment. In addition, a new Dispersed Camping Area opened along a 28.5-mile road walk in southern Marathon County. Continue reading

National Trails Day Hikes!

National Trail Day, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail

The Plover River Segment of the Ice Age Trail. (Photo by Cameron Gillie)

National Trails Day is Saturday, June 2nd, 2018 and there is plenty to celebrate along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Hikes That Go the Distance:

Explore new territory.

Waushara County, All Waushara County Segments: “Walk the Waush” Challenge 

Beginning June 1 through August 19th, challenge yourself, family, friends, and co-workers to lace up their walking shoes and walk as many miles as you can in 80 days and explore Waushara County’s beautiful parks and trails. (Bonus: become eligible for awards and prizes!) (Waushara County Chapter) Continue reading

Renew Your Passion for the Trail!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ringle Segment, Mobile Skills Crew

Mysterious Ringle Segment. Photo by Drew Hanson

After a winter’s rest, recharged trailbuilding spirits bring renewed passion to the transformation underway in the geological significant “Landscape Crossroads” of Marathon County.

During three 2017 MSC events, 227 volunteers gave 5,363 hours of energy and effort to superbly hand-craft the first 1.7 miles of the envisioned 6.7-mile reimagined Trail experience of the Ringle Segment. Continue reading

In the Footsteps of Muir

Portrait of John Muir169 years ago John Muir’s family settled in central Wisconsin near Fountain Lake. While the name of the water has changed to Ennis Lake, the landscape that helped shape John Muir’s land ethic remains. Today the Ice Age National Scenic Trail circles around Ennis Lake and through John Muir County Park, allowing hikers to walk a short distance in the footsteps of the Father of our National Parks. With your support, we can expand John Muir County Park and the Ice Age Trail in Marquette County. Continue reading

New Ice Age Trail Gear Available!

The Ice Age Trail Alliance did something different this year.  We partnered with local outdoor brand, Seek Dry Goods, to offer new products and designs that celebrate and support the Trail. Today, we are thrilled to announce the arrival the first official Ice Age Trail tee shirts and stickers!

All tee shirts from Seek Dry Goods display hand-drawn graphics, are USA made and are responsibly sourced (50% organic cotton / 50% recycled polyester).  The use of responsibly sourced materials requires almost 70% less water and energy to produce than conventional fabric. This means your tee shirt purchases not only support the Trail, but the Earth as well. Continue reading

Celebrate Spring with a Hike!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Spring Hikes, Chapter-led hikes

Bring your tribe hiking on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.                                                         Photos by: Luke Kloberdanz, James Mills, Cameron Gillie

As the snow melts, trees bud out, and wildflowers begin adding a glimmer of color to the Trail, chapter-led hikes begin populating the Ice Age Trail Alliance calendar in earnest.

Continue reading

Be ENOUGH – Trailtessa – Saturday, May 12, 2018

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, REI, Force of Nature, Be Enough

Be Rejuvenated. Breathe in the beautiful view and exhale stress. Recharge with a guided hike and a sea of green along the Kewaskum Segment. Photo by Kathy Kehl.

Be Equal. Women, who spend at least an hour a day outside, on average, are more likely to feel equal to men in academia, in the outdoors, at work, in the boardroom, politics and on the sports field. Continue reading

Beware of Icy Hiking Conditions!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Icy Winter Hiking

Icy trail conditions like these along the popular Straight Lake Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail call for winter traction devices! Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Don’t put summer fun in jeopardy by taking an otherwise preventable fall on an icy trail.

Many favorite, well-loved, and well-used segments of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail become extremely icy during the late winter and early spring.

Snowy trails, packed down by many feet, turn to ice and become even more dangerous as balmy daytime temperatures lead to thawing and evening temperatures dip back into freezing range.

To be prepared for potentially hazardous hiking, the use of ice cleats and hiking poles (with rubber tip removed) is strongly recommended for safe spring hiking (which in some areas extends well into “Muddy March” and even mid-April). Continue reading

Crew Leadership and Skills Training is Now Open!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Crew Leadership Training, Mobile Skills Crew Season 2018

Crew Leaders actively participate and provide hands-on training while leading their crews.     Photos by Cameron Gillie of

Applications are being accepted!

How do you engage 1,200 volunteers and steadily raise the bar of an award-winning trail program? With terrific volunteer leadership!

Attendance at this training requires a short application which can be found here. Applications are due by March 31 and will be reviewed shortly thereafter, with admittance confirmation issued by April 7. (Completed applications should be emailed to Tim Malzhan, Director of Trail Operations.) Continue reading

Backpacking Workshop Series

A weekend backpacker pauses to catch his breath and take in the views along the IAT. Photo by Cameron Gillie.

Deepen your backpacking know-how with plenty of advice from backpacking experts. If you’re carefully considering a thru-hike on the Ice Age Trail as your next big adventure, or if you’re dreaming and scheming about how to section-hike the Trail in weekend jaunts, then these sessions are for you!

Join us on Saturday, April 14th at the Blue Harbor Resort in beautiful Sheboygan!

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Trip Planning, Logistics, and Navigation.
Do you wonder how, exactly, to start planning your thousand-mile journey? If you feel a little confused, you’re not alone. The good news is there is a wealth of resources and IATA staff is eager to demystify them. You’ll learn the ins and outs of the interactive map including Trail conditions, as well as, the helpful details embedded in the Mammoth Tracks app. You’ll get the inside scoop about how to connect with chapter leaders; how to use the Thousand-Miler spreadsheet; the nitty-gritty of resupply, shuttles, and trail angels; and how to use social media to network with other hikers. Continue reading

Interactive Hiker Resource Map

Clicking on a feature in the map will bring up more information, such as the name and length of an IAT segment.

The NEW interactive Hiker Resource Map shows all official Ice Age National Scenic Trail segments and (unsigned) connecting routes, and additional features such as camping, parking, water, ColdCache sites, and Ice Age Trail Communities.  The map works on computers and mobile devices.

We like how intuitive it is. Hover over an icon to gain more information. Click on the options offered on the toolbar (see above example) to expand the information available. Continue reading