If you find yourself on I-39, headed south after a weekend up North, you owe it to yourself to stop, stretch your legs, and check out a sweet little gem of a hike along the Chaffee Creek Segment in Waushara County.
Conveniently, this Ice Age National Scenic Trail segment, a few miles south of Coloma, begins at a rest stop (according to Google Maps, Rest Stop 82), so it’s super easy, especially if you have kids in the car, to get in a bio-break and get snacks from the vending machine before you head out on a mini-adventure.
The segment itself is only 2.5 miles long, and within less than a mile from the Trailhead you’ll encounter a bubbling little creek with a charming wooden bridge and wide prairie meadows home to over 100 native plant species. Happily, Turk’s Cap Lillies are in bloom right now along the sunny edges of the Trail.
The kids, big and small, will thrill at the jaunt through a culvert – not something they (or we) get to do everyday!
It’s quite something to be splashing through the culvert with traffic zooming past overhead and then blinking in the bright sunlight, turning onto an inviting path up a small hill and into the woods. It feels like a fun little secret … if only the people, in the cars rushing past, knew a quaint, restorative nature break was patiently waiting for them in a most unsuspecting place!
I-39 Southbound Wayside: From Coloma on I-39, go south 3.5 miles and exit at the highway wayside at Mile Marker 120.
The Trail access is near the kiosk on the west end of the wayside, follow the road west for a couple of yards, the Trail maker will be on your left.
How to get there using Atlas Map 52 F.