Economic Impact of the Ice Age Trail

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail, a gem in the crown of Wisconsin’s tourism industry, is a beloved recreational feature. Hikers, business owners, and government partners agree that the Ice Age Trail is a great benefit to Wisconsin’s tourism and recreation industries.

To get some hard numbers for this topic, we asked the UW-Whitewater Fiscal and Economic Research Center to undertake a survey of Trail users and businesses along the Ice Age Trail.

Economic research models determined that the Ice Age Trail draws an estimated 2, 300,000 visitors every year (this number doubled since the 2011 survey). Trail users contribute approximately $355 million annually (this amount tripled since the 2011 survey) to statewide and local economies.

Further research findings are detailed in the 2020 final report [PDF].