Spend Your Thanksgiving Holiday on the Ice Age Trail

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Hiker, Fog, Mammoth Hike Challenge, Fall, October
Looking for an alternative to large gatherings and Black Friday shopping this Thanksgiving holiday? How about a stroll on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail! Photo by Joshua Fager.

With many Thanksgiving and Black Friday plans canceled, you may be looking for safe and family-friendly alternatives to gatherings. When making your holiday plans, consider taking a walk on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. It may be the perfect place to slow down, find internal peace, and gain clarity during the season of gratitude.

However, the Thanksgiving holiday also takes place in the heart of the nine-day gun deer hunting season. Keeping this in mind, we have 13 hikes to share with you where deer hunting is not allowed. All of the following suggested hikes take place in or near Ice Age Trail Communities. These hikes represent a perfect blend of natural surroundings and urban amenities.

Please Note: Hiking the Ice Age Trail has remained a relatively safe activity that allows for social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please remember to hike responsibly and comply with public health protocols.

Self-Guided Hikes: Explore Our Trail Communities!

(Listed west to east)

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, City of Lodi Segment, Rainbow Bridge
The City of Lodi Segment features a 150-foot-long bridge based on the 16th-century Chinese Rainbow Bridge. Photo by Wendy Hartmann.
St. Croix Falls Segment (9 miles)

This hike highlights several outstanding features including the Dalles of St. Croix River, glacial potholes, and excellent views of the city of St. Croix Falls from the Hospital Esker.

See details of the St. Croix Falls Segment [Polk County] and the St. Croix Falls Trail Community Itinerary.

City of Lodi Segment (1.8 miles)

This hike starts, or ends, at the 150-foot-long footbridge spanning a ravine between Lodi’s middle and high schools. Based on a 16th century Chinese Rainbow Bridge, this structure is sure to amaze. The Trail through the City is a mix of dirt path and paved sidewalk. Enjoy the quaint downtown of this proud Trail Community along the way.

See details of the City of Lodi Segment [Southern Columbia County] and the Lodi Trail Community Itinerary.

Valley View Segment (1.8 miles)

Situated on the terminal moraine, this segment features some of the finest examples of prairie and oak savannah restoration. If Black Friday is a clear day, hikers will be able to see Blue Mounds to the west.

See details of the Valley View Segment [Dane County] and the Verona Trail Community Itinerary.

Verona Segment (4.9 miles excluding Prairie Moraine Park)

With about 200 acres of restored native prairie, the Verona Segment features open views of the surrounding landscape. There are numerous kiosks explaining the Ice Age Trail and Upper Sugar River Valley.

Trail Alert: Beginning November 9, the IAT will be closed from the Military Ridge State Trail by the Little League Complex to Whalen Rd. due to a sewer reconstruction project. From the north, hikers should continue west on the Military Ridge State Trail, south on S. Main St., and east on Whalen Rd. This detour will be in effect through Spring 2022.

See details of the Verona Segment [Dane County] and the Verona Trail Community Itinerary.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Verona Segment, Hiker, Fall, Winter
A hiker strolls along a boardwalk on the Verona Segment. Photo by Cameron Gillie.
Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Andersen Preserve, Prairie, Cross Plains Segment
The Cross Plains Segment offers both sweeping prairie views and forested corridors. Photo by Xiping Wang.
Cross Plains Segment (2.8 miles)

Located along Black Earth Creek in a valley between tall bluffs, this segment represents the boundary between the Driftless Area to the south and west and glaciated lands to the east. This hike can make for a nice loop through prairie, oak savannah and the Village of Cross Plains. For those of you who might be tempted to combine this hike with a tour of the Table Bluff Segment, please know that segment is closed for hunting.

See details of the Cross Plains Segment [Dane County] and the Cross Plains Trail Community Itinerary.

Janesville Segment (10.4 miles)

The southern gateway to the Ice Age Trail, and one of the largest communities found on the route. Along the way, hikers may enjoy numerous parks and educational opportunities. A portion of the hike will take you along the Rock River where lovely views of the river have been opened up during restoration work by the Rock County Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance and partnering Boy Scout troops.

See details of the Janesville Segment [Rock County] and the Janesville Trail Community Itinerary.

Devil’s Staircase Segment (1.7 miles)

Connecting with the Janesville Segment, Devil’s Staircase features one of the more unique hikes in the state. For a good portion of this stretch, hikers parallel the Rock River and may witness the impressive work done by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

See details of the Devil’s Staircase Segment [Rock County] and the Janesville Trail Community Itinerary.

Lapham Peak Segment (7.6 miles)

This segment of the Ice Age Trail connects to Delafield and makes for a longer Black Friday hike. Spanning 1,000 acres, Lapham Peak has numerous hiking paths to follow. Hunting is prohibited in Lapham Peak, however, wearing blaze orange is a good idea this time of year.

See details of the Lapham Peak Segment [Waukesha County] and the Delafield Trail Community Itinerary.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Lapham Peak Segment, Hiker
A hiker journeys through tall grass on the Lapham Peak Segment. Photo by Ann Mirak.
Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Delafield Segment, Riverwalk
The Delafield Segment features a stroll along the scenic Delafield Veterans Memorial Riverwalk. Photo by Jenna Benjamin.
Delafield Segment (2.8 miles)

Located just a skip away from Hartland, hikers through the City of Delafield may pay tribute to Wisconsin soldiers at the Cushing Memorial Park and Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Riverwalk.

See details of the Delafield Segment [Waukesha County] and the Delafield Trail Community Itinerary.

Hartland Segment (6.8 miles)

This stretch follows the Bark River through downtown Hartland before heading south into the Hartland Marsh. Enjoy the perks of extensive restoration efforts in the Marsh before heading downtown for a bite to eat.  Several establishments in this proud Trail Community have the Ice Age Trail logo on display.  Be sure to let them know you’ve been out for a hike, it helps businesses appreciate the economic impact Trail enthusiasts have on their local economy.

See details of the Hartland Segment [Waukesha County] and the Hartland Trail Community Itinerary.

Slinger Segment (1.5 miles)

This segment handily connects two adjacent segments (see the hike along the Pike Lake Segment noted above) and highlights the village of Slinger, once an important trading center for Native Americans.

See details of the Slinger Segment [Washington County] and the Slinger Trail Community Itinerary.

Walla Hi Segment (2.3 miles)

The Walla Hi Segment highlights the Walla Hi County Park, which showcases a variety of glacial features including kettles, moraines, and erratics.

See details of the Walla Hi Segment [Manitowoc County] and the West Bend Trail Community Itinerary.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Walla Hi Segment, Stone Staircase
A feature of the Walla Hi Segment is a beautifully crafted stone staircase built by Ice Age Trail volunteers. Photo by Abby Plambeck.
Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, City of Two Rivers Segment, Lake Michigan
The City of Two Rivers Segment follows the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. Photo by Mary Gronlund.
City of Manitowoc Segment (7.3 miles)

This urban segment highlights the City of Manitowoc and its rich maritime history and includes a lengthy stretch along the shores of Lake Michigan.

See details of the City of Manitowoc Segment [Manitowoc County] and the Manitowoc-Two Rivers Trail Community Itinerary.

City of Two Rivers Segment (2.8 miles)

This segment travels through the charming community of Two Rivers including the buildings comprising the historic Rogers Street Fishing Village.

See details of the City of Two Rivers Segment [Manitowoc County] and the Manitowoc-Two Rivers Trail Community Itinerary.

Thank you for hiking responsibly during the Thanksgiving Holidays! Happy Trails!