Photo Credit: Cameron Gillie, Harrison Hills Segment.

Mammoth Hike Challenge 2023

Hike 43 miles on the Ice Age Trail AND visit 3 Trail Communities.

Earn a limited-edition patch and certificate!

Congratulations! You Did It.

Congratulations on completing your Mammoth Hike Challenge!

We’re delighted you chose challenge yourself to hike 43 miles during the month of October and dive into a deeper experience of Wisconsin!  

Allow 7-9 weeks for processing and delivery from November 1. Our team of volunteers who help us organize/create/mail certificates will not be in place until the beginning of November. We appreciate your patience.

A pair of hiking boots and a hiking stick.
Hiking necessities: a good pair of shoes and a trusty hiking stick (with an Ice Age National Scenic Trail medallion, of course). Photo by Lynnette Sweet.

Earn this patch! We’re excited about this year’s design.

Take on the Challenge!

Hike, walk, run, or backpack 43 miles on the Ice Age Trail during the month of October 2023 and visit 3 of our Trail Communities to earn a hiking certificate and a limited-edition patch.

Log your miles over days, weekends, weeks, or one big adventure. You have the entire month of October to do it!

Challenge yourself to:

  • Explore new-to-you segments or NEW Ice Age Trail segments added since the last Challenge: White Cedar, Gibbs Lake, Evansville, Cornell, and soon the new Rib Lake segment!
  • Enjoy vibrant fall colors = check out the Ice Age Trail Fall Colors Map!
  • Spend family-time on the Trail.
  • Slow down, unplug, and tune in.
  • Listen more and talk less.
  • Stop at every bench to rest and reflect.
  • Laugh, sing, and seek joy.
  • Watch a sunrise or sunset while on the Trail.
  • Take a night hike.
  • Introduce someone new to the Trail.
  • Find one or two new ways to enjoy the Trail on your quest toward 43 miles.

Registration for the Challenge is FREE. All abilities. All ages. All welcome.

Join the Mammoth Hike Challenge!

All ages. All abilities. All welcome!

Sign up as an individual, a couple, a family or even a team. You have the entire month of October to do the Challenge! 

When you register, you’ll receive:

  • Itineraries highlighting Ice Age Trail Communities, their local businesses and attractions, and nearby Ice Age Trail segments to explore, 
  • Special invites to Challenge events.

All attendees will have the opportunity to submit an online completion form when they have finished the Challenge in October. It’s Scouts Honor when it comes to reporting your mileage, Trail Community visits and bonus miles.

Three women take a selfie with a stuffed wooly mammoth.
Don't forget to pack your stuffed wooly mammoth on your hikes! Photo by Kristin Gjerdset.

Bonus Miles are Back!

Not sure you can hike 43 miles this year? We invite you to compile your 43 miles with (or without) taking advantage of bonus mile opportunities: 

Earn bonus miles:

*Visit an additional Trail Community = 10 bonus miles
*Attend a Mammoth Hike Challenge event = 10 bonus miles
*Become an Ice Age Trail Alliance member = 10 bonus miles
*Volunteer with the Ice Age Trail Alliance = 10 bonus miles
*Complete a ColdCache = 5 bonus miles
*Hike with an Ice Age Trail newbie = 5 bonus miles
*Share a Challenge experience on social media (#MammothHikeChallenge, @iceagetrail) = 5 bonus miles

If the event is posted on the Ice Age Trail Alliance October calendar, it is a Challenge Event!

There’s no limit to the number of bonus miles you can earn. Get out there, explore and enjoy! You will be able to share the bonus miles you earn on the completion form.

Ice Age Trail, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Trail Communities, Ice Age Trail Community logo

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail traverses Wisconsin and showcases its natural beauty and glacial landscapes. The Trail winds its way through 142 communities; 19 of them have chosen to become official Ice Age Trail Communities. It’s a way for them to show their support for the Trail and to recognize Trail users as important players in their local economies. Trail Communities range from small roadside stops to bustling metropolises. They are a vibrant aspect of the Ice Age Trail hiking experience. Come explore them!

Itineraries are available to help you explore the exceptional restaurants, attractions, and historical landmarks in each Trail Community, as well as nearby Trail segments.

Exploring our Trail Communities is an excellent way to dive deep into the Wisconsin experience of supper clubs and the tall tales told at the local watering holes. Grab a coffee and a sweet treat from a local bakery. Or, check out one-of-a-kind treasures only found in small-town shops!

Please mention you are a user of the Trail when you shop or stay overnight. Help confirm the connection between your hike along the Trail and the dollars you spend in a Trail Community.

Find Trail Magic in our Trail Communities!

The Mammoth Hike Challenge invites participates to hike 43 miles anywhere along the Ice Age Trail AND visit our Trail Communities along the way. During the 2023 Challenge, local businesses in our Ice Age Trail Communities are offering Trail Magic.

What is Trail Magic? 

It is something that makes a hiker’s experience more enjoyable. In this case, it may be a coupon or special code from a local merchant, offering a discount on food or beverages. Over 60 businesses are offering some kind of Trail Magic during October for Mammoth Hike Challenge participants!

Click HERE for a full list of Trail Magic!

Answers to Your FAQs!

Click on the + to reveal the answer.

Why Do I Need to Register?

Registration provides you with special Challenge communications and access to Trail Community itineraries. Plus, to receive your Challenge patch and certificate, you’ll need to fill out the Completion form when finished and registration numbers will help us plan for ordering patches.

Your registration also helps us track the popularity of the Challenge, which provides valuable feedback to our Trail Community partners and supporting businesses.

Registration for the Challenge is free, although donations to the Ice Age Trail Alliance are accepted and appreciated.

Do My 43 Miles Have To Be Unique?

No! Simply make sure the miles you hike (or run, or walk, or backpack) add up to 43. If you hike out and back on a stretch of trail, feel free to count your miles both ways. You may also include mileage from any white-blazed loop trails you find along the way. Miles from suggested connecting road routes count as well. If you’re part of a team, you can combine your mileage.

Not sure you can hike 43 miles this year? We invite you to compile your 43 miles with (or without) talking advantage of bonus miles. 

Earn bonus miles:

*Visit an additional Trail Community = 10 bonus miles
*Attend a Mammoth Hike Challenge event = 10 bonus miles
*Become an Ice Age Trail Alliance member = 10 bonus miles
*Volunteer with the Ice Age Trail Alliance = 10 bonus miles
*Complete a ColdCache = 5 bonus miles
*Hike with an Ice Age Trail newbie = 5 bonus miles
*Share a Challenge experience on social media (#MammothHikeChallenge, @iceagetrail) = 5 bonus miles

If the event is posted on the Ice Age Trail Alliance October calendar, it is a Challenge Event!

There’s no limit to the number of bonus miles you can earn! Get out there and explore and enjoy! You will be able to share the bonus miles you used on the completion form.

How Can I Track My Miles?

It’s Scout’s honor when it comes to reporting your mileage and Trail Community visits. So track your miles any way you want (via paper, using a fitness tracking app, etc.).

Feel free to use the official 2023 Mammoth Hike Challenge Hiking Log for tracking the segments and distances you’ve hiked, plus Trail Communities you’ve visited.

The Hiking Log is for you; it does NOT need to be submitted for completion of the Challenge. The Hiking Log is NOT required.

How Many Trail Communities Do I Need to Visit?

You’re encouraged to visit and support three Trail Communities (there are now 19).

When you are visiting one of our 19 official Trail Communities, you’ll know that you’re visiting a place that values the Ice Age Trail, understands the importance of the quality of life for its residents and visitors, and supports the work of the Ice Age Trail Alliance.

Tour local museums, book overnight lodging in a hotel or Airbnb, browse charming shops, and savor a meal at a local restaurant. We challenge you to experience these gems – the communities and people shaped by the glacial terrain and surrounding landscape.

Are There Itineraries For Each Trail Community?

Yes! Itineraries are available each Ice Age Trail Community to help you experience the best of what each community has to offer, along with how to contact local tourism outlets.. Itineraries showcase exceptional restaurants, attractions, historical landmarks, and Ice Age Trail segments. In 2023, there are 19 Trail Communities; let’s show them some love. The itineraries were updated for 2023.

Learn more about our 19 Trail Communities! 

What if I Hike 43 Miles, But Don't Visit Any Trail Communities?

If that’s the case, you’ll receive a certificate for completing the 43-mile requirement however, you will not receive a patch.

May We Sign Up As A Team?

Yes! Please, do. If you enjoy hiking with a partner, appreciate the accountability, or want to encourage your family and friends, then signing up as a team is for you.

You can register multiple participants under one registration—and your miles and Trail Community visits can be cumulative. Unfortunately, we cannot edit an existing registration, so if you want to add team members, just complete another registration form for them.

Upon completion, you will indicate how many certificates and patches are needed for your team members.

Someone in your group needs to be designated the Team Captain. The Captain is responsible for filling out the completion form and will be sent the certificates and patches to distribute accordingly.

Can Children Earn Certificates and Patches?

Yes! Absolutely. If your household signs up as a “team” you will be able to indicate how many certificates and patches are desired when filling out the completion form.

Do You have Some Ideas On How To Get Kids Excited About Hiking?

We get it, some kid’s enthusiasm for hiking doesn’t match their parents. This is one of the reasons we created Ice Age Trail Explorer Backpacks. They contain everything you need to keep your kids engaged and excited while hiking the Ice Age Trail. Backpacks are available for FREE checkout at public libraries in our Trail Communities.

You could also try ColdCaching. It’s fun activity that combines treasure hunting with navigation and ice age history.

For additional kid-friendly activities and resources – for example, Ice Age Trail Bingo, Engage the Senses, Forest Bath, Hiker Lingo – check out our website.

And for the stuffed animal lovers out there, perhaps a little incentive like Monty the Mammoth will do the trick.

Can I Get More Patches If I Hike More Than 43 Miles?

Your overachieving spirit is impressive. But, there’s only one patch to earn per person with the Mammoth Hike Challenge.

However, a number of our chapters offer a patch if you hike all of the segments within their area. Learn more here.

How Can I Maximize My Wisconsin Fall Color Experience?

To immerse yourself in fall’s brilliant colors during the Mammoth Hike Challenge, look no further than the Ice Age Trail Fall Color Experience Map!

This map combines Travel Wisconsin’s Fall Color Report with a comprehensive list of local attractions, dining, lodging, and shopping along the Trail.

May I Send Some of My Ice Age Trail Hiking Photos to You?

Yes, please! We love seeing photos of people’s Ice Age Trail adventures. You will have the opportunity to upload up to seven of your best photos when you fill out the Completion form.

Your photos may be used on social media, in Mammoth Tales, or other publications. We’ll be sure to give you credit if they’re used.

What Should I Be Aware of As a Hiker During the Hunting Season?

Broadly stated, hunting seasons in Wisconsin range from September through May. For this reason, you are encouraged to wear “Blaze Orange” or other brightly colored clothing when you (or your pet) head out for a hike during these months. This includes during October and the  Mammoth Hike Challenge.

Hunting seasons differ depending region of the state and what is being hunted. So, it’s good to know the types of hunting allowed where you’re planning to hike and season dates. Check out our Hunting Season and the Ice Age Trail page for more information!

Some seasons require hikers to exercise more caution than others. For example, it’s safer to hike during archery and crossbow season than during gun deer season. A bullet travels farther than an arrow.

The good news is this: During October, just about all segments of the Ice Age Trail that cross public lands remain open for hiking during the hunting seasons of various game species, including the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, state and county forests, and state parks.

As a general rule, hikers can feel pretty safe on the Trail; however, it’s good to follow these suggestions:

1. KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Hunting Season Dates set by the Wisconsin DNR; Closures along the Ice Age Trail, during gun deer season, where the Trail crosses private land; and Ice Age Trail Alliance properties where hunting is allowed. You may want to purchase the Ice Age Trail Guidebook. Its segment-by-segment information also highlights which sections or segments are closed for hunting season.

2. WEAR “BLAZE ORANGE” or other highly visible clothing.

3. IF YOU HIKE WITH A DOG, it should wear a blaze orange vest and be on a leash at all times.

4.USE EXTRA CAUTION AT DAWN and DUSK. Hunting activity may increase at dawn and dusk when animals are feeding. Please wear reflective vests if you hike during these times of low visibility. Using a headlamp is a good idea, too.

5. AVOID HUNTER INTERFERENCE. It is prohibited by Wisconsin law to interfere with people engaged in lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping (WI Statutes 29.083).

6. BE HEARD. Make sure you are heard, by whistling, singing, or talking while you hike.


A red backpack adorned with patches from hiking award programs offered by the chapters of the Ice Age Trail Alliance.
A backpack adorned with patches from hiking award programs offered by the chapters of the IATA. Photo by Kris Van Handel.

An Easy Way to Accumulate 43 Miles

...and a few more patches!

A number of the Ice Age Trail Alliance chapters have their own hiking award programs.

It’s a fun way to focus your time and energy as you explore Ice Age Trail segments within a particular county. Once you’ve hiked all the segments and submitted your paperwork to the chapter, you’ll get a patch ( some exceptions may apply).

Note: The miles of Ice Age Trail within a chapter’s hiking award program may exceed 43 miles.

Thanks to AKHG, the principal apparel sponsor of the Mammoth Hike Challenge.