Photo Credit: Rachel Roberts

Trailtessa* Retreats 2023

*Trailtessa [treyl-tes-sah], noun: a woman or girl who gets out on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail to experience adventure, freedom and a new way to be.

Re-discover YOU with plenty of permission.

BE YOU: Bold. Audacious. Strong. Adventurous.

You get to choose.

Be any way you want to BE.

We love dogs, but we ask that you not bring them to Trailtessa events.

Registration fee is non-refundable. If you are unable to attend, we will consider it a donation to the Alliance.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Be Empowered, Trailtessa
A Force of Nature adds more fuel to the fire. Photo by Amy Lord.


January 20-21, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Table Bluff Segment, Dane County

Help maintain habitat diversity and ecosystem quality along the popular Table Bluff Segment. Be a part of an all-female crew removing invasive brush and trees from the oak savannas and woodlands to prepare for future broadcast burning. Provided there is adequate snow cover, we’ll burn the brush piles, too. We’re focusing our efforts at the two Alliance-owned preserves along the segment: Swamplovers’ and Holmes.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Trailtessa Retreats, Force of Nature,
Friends and plenty of snow make for good times. Photo by IATA staff.


Saturday, February 18
Snowshoe Hike and Winter Camping Workshop
Hartman Creek State Park, Portage and Waupaca Counties

Pure Bliss. Embrace winter by strapping on a pair of snowshoes for a two-mile hike through snow-frosted trees. The morning jaunt will be followed by an Intro to Winter Camping workshop in the afternoon. You may attend the hike and workshop, or you may choose which activity suits you and your schedule best.

Either way, come ready to make new friends, warm your hands at a bonfire, and enjoy homemade, locally-sourced treats from female-owned Gypsy Moon Catering.

Registration (non-refundable) fee required for the hike and the workshop.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Be Adventurous, Trailtessa
A newly formed group of friends gather for post-hike beverages and conversation. Photo by Amy Lord.


Saturday, May 13 – Sunday, May 14
Introduction to Camping
Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit

If you’ve wanted to dip your toe into the world of camping, but don’t know where to start, join us for this retreat weekend. You’ll gain confidence for future camping adventures as you set up your tent and cook meals with intrepid, camping novices. We’ll create a great community space including a camp lounge, trail mix bar, and plenty of outdoor fun. Gear will be available for those who need it.

*Registration includes attendance at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources OutWiGo Green event.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Trailtessa, Be Light-hearted
A mother-daughter duo enjoy a day together on the Trail. Photo by Alliance staff.


Wednesday, June 21
An On-Your-Own Hike
Anywhere on the Ice Age Trail

Celebrate the Summer Solstice with an on-your-own hike on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Head out solo or gather friends and family. Take advantage of the extended daylight and watch the sunrise or set from a favorite spot along the Trail.

Please share your delight on social media by using these hashtags:
#Trailtessa #IceAgeTrail #OptOutside #ForceOfNature #SummerSolsticeHike

Cost: Free

Ice Age Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Trailtessa, Trailtessa Retreats,
Classic summer fun: roasting marshmallows for s'mores. Photo by Hedi LaMarr.


Saturday, July 15, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
A Classic Summer Hike
Janesville Schools Outdoor Laboratory, Rock County

Let your heart be bright, delighting in a classic summer night: a late-setting sun, cricket songs, and pulsing fire flies. Enjoy a guided hike along arboretum paths through beautiful mature forest, prairie, marsh and wetlands. It’s magical under the light of the moon and around a bonfire. Light refreshments will be available.

Cost: $15/attendee. Girls under 18, free

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Be Curious, Trailtessa
A Trailtessa spends an afternoon harvesting seeds from native prairie plants. Photo by Cameron Gillie.


Saturday, September 16, 2:00 – 7:00 pm
A Habitat Improvement Project
Table Bluff Segment, Dane County

Wander through acres of native prairie plants, collecting seeds for future planting projects from a biodiversity hotspot, SwampLovers’ Preserve. This 433-acre property, perched on the rolling hills of southwestern Wisconsin, includes wetland, prairie, and oak savanna hosting resident and migratory wildlife. Come eager to learn more about biodiversity – why various species, habitats, and ecosystems are crucial to a healthy planet – and how seed collecting helps support it.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age Trail, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Be Fierce, Backpacking, Trailtessa, Trailtessa Retreats
A backpacker follows yellow blazes through the woods. Photo by Joanne Ellarson.


October 20-22, 2023
A Backpacking Skills Adventure
Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit

Backpacking 101 requires strength and self-sufficiency as you carry your gear-filled pack on this multi-day trip. You’ll be immersed in rugged beauty, hiking along glittering kettle lakes, through mesic forests, and across winding boardwalks. No previous backpacking experience necessary but expect to hike a total of approximately 25 miles during the trip. Open to women who have NOT participated previous Trailtessa backpacking trips.

Registration limit: 24 women, ages 21 and up
Cost: $150/attendee