The Indianhead Chapter hosts numerous hikes, trail improvement days and presentations by glacial geologists throughout the year. Currently, we have approximately 120 members.
Trail Route from St. Croix Falls to Polk County Forest
St. Croix Falls is known as “The City of Trails” and is where the Ice Age National Scenic Trail ends or begins, depending on where you start your journey. It is the home of the Western Terminus and was designated an Ice Age Trail Community, in 2019. An IAT Community is a place where Ice Age Trail enthusiasts enjoy healthy walks, visit local businesses and take part in events. These communities work hand-in-hand with the Ice Age Trail Alliance to advance the Ice Age Trail, promote the qualities that make each place unique, and provide pathways to community health and well-being. Together, the Ice Age Trail Alliance and Trail Communities promote the unique qualities that make the Trail, and the community it travels through, a meaningful destination.
The Superior and Des Moines lobes largely shaped Polk and Burnett counties. First, the Superior Lobe came from the northeast. Later, the Des Moines Lobe moved south through Minnesota and branched northeast into the St. Croix Falls area, through the present-day towns of Atlas, Cushing and Grantsburg. The Superior Lobe had numerous ice margins where eskers and ridges of glacial till and boulders were deposited.
Most of the Ice Age Trail through Polk County is confined to the hilly and forested moraines. the exception is on the Gandy Dancer State Trail from Centuria to Milltown. Here the Trail is on a glacial outwash plain along some of Polk County’s best cropland.
The Ice Age Trail’s western terminus overlooks the St. Croix River in Interstate State Park. Glacial potholes are featured trailside with the Trail’s terminus perched above the riverway and the Dalles of the St. Croix gorge. The state park is an Ice Age National Scientific Reserve unit with an interpretive center containing educational displays about the Ice Age (center is currently closed due to Covid-19). The park is Wisconsin’s oldest state park, established in 1900. Polk County is also home to one of Wisconsin’s newest state parks, Straight Lake State Park, designated in 2004.
Much of the Trail covers remote areas of the county. Finding water can be a problem during the summer. Logging in the county forest and private lands occurs regularly and can make it a challenge to locate Trail blazes. Take your time, pay close attention to yellow blazes and carry a map and compass. Check out the Hiker Resources that the Ice Age Trail Alliance offers.
- St. Croix Falls Segment – 9 miles
- Gandy Dancer Segment – 15.5 miles
- Trade River Segment – 4.3 miles
- Straight Lake Segment – 3.6 miles
- Straight River Segment – 3.4 miles
- Pine Lake Segment – 2.9 miles
- McKenzie Creek Segment – 9.4 miles
- Indian Creek Segment – 5.4 miles
- Sand Creek Segment – 6 miles
Currently, we have an Annual meeting when officers are elected, a general meeting to discuss the upcoming needs for the Trail and an “Adopt the Trail” meeting. They are usually held in the Spring and plenty of notice is sent out. Monthly meetings are something we are considering, but for now, the best option is to check the events calendar.
“Traprock Trekkers” Hiking Award Program
Our “Traprock Trekkers” program rewards hikers who hike all the Ice Age Trail’s 59.5 miles in the Chapter’s territory. Upon completion, Trekkers receive a certificate, an attractive patch and, of course, memories to last a lifetime. Download the Traprock Trekker Pg 2 & Traprock Trekker Pg 1 .
Volunteer with Us
Volunteers should always track their hours for quarterly reporting. The volunteer hours should be reported to us at the end of March, June, September, and December. Download the individual volunteers hours log [MS Word].
“In the Mud” Award and National Park Service Recognition Winners
Each year we vote on one or two individuals who have gone above and beyond in their commitment to conserve, create, maintain, and promote the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the prestigious “In the Mud” Award for 2020 was Barbara Ceder. Barb has been an active Ice Age Trail volunteer for 9 years. As co-coordinator of the Chapter, she organizes meetings, plans and attends events, ensures hikers receive shuttle services, and takes part in regular Ice Age Trail maintenance. She generously states, “Anything that I can do, I do.” Barb discovered the Ice Age Trail 10 years ago and became involved as a volunteer shortly after. She describes, “My cousin Cheryl took me for my first walk on the Ice Age Trail. By the next year I was a member and a trail maintainer. I love the people, and I love the trail.”
Her favorite part of the Ice Age Trail is the stretch of the McKenzie Creek Segment from County Road W to McKenzie Lake. “I maintained it for years and still help with it. It is hilly, with a creek and a beautiful lake at one end,” she explains. Straight Lake is her second favorite segment. In 2021, Barb Ceder was recognized for 1,000 hours of volunteering by the National Park Service.
Not to be outdone by her cousin, Cheryl Whitman won the “In the Mud” Award in 2021. Cheryl has been involved with the Ice Age Trail Alliance since 2008 when Wanda Brown, another Chapter volunteer, very skillfully recruited her. She’s never looked back, but instead has continued to contribute to the needs of the Chapter in numerous roles. Having grown up in northern Minneapolis and always looking for that next adventure while traveling “up north, it was no surprise when she chose to become an ambassador for the Ice Age Trail.
In the past, she has used her trail building skills on a statewide level, by participating in Mobile Skills Crew projects. She also donated her time and talents for multiple Straight Lake projects and on the Trail that traverses through St. Croix Falls. When an opening for a Chapter treasurer happened, Cheryl was quick to respond to the need in 2009, and has been doing it ever since. With the help of cousin Barb Ceder, she started the Chapter’s Facebook page and has served in the role of administrator since 2010. Cheryl didn’t stop there. Over the years, she started to notice that the Indianhead Chapter was not getting represented in the “Chapter Highlights” section of Mammoth Tales, that she felt we deserved. She started writing for the publication to bring awareness to our Chapter’s contributions. Her favorite part of the Ice Age Trail that the Indianhead Chapter’s territory covers, is the Straight Lake segment because of all views of the lakes and rocky terrain, that it provides to hikers and snowshoers.
In 2021, Brook Whalen was recognized for 20 years of service by the National Park Service.
Thank you for your contributions to the Ice Age Trail, Barb, Cheryl and Brook, as well as all volunteers who are out there everyday!
Adopt-the-Trail volunteers play a key role in maintaining the beauty and ease of use of the 9 segments of the Ice Age Trail that pass through Polk and Burnett counties. They are required to do most of the maintenance on the trail, which includes mowing, updating signage and some minor trail repairs/upgrades. It is important that all standards adopted by the Ice Age Trail Alliance be adhered to, so extensive training is provided at a state and local level. Larger groups of volunteers are sent out for projects that require a lot of attention. Some segments are quite lengthy, so multiple trail adopters may be assigned to them. Volunteers contribute to the enjoyability of hiking on the trail by clearing brush and trash and reporting any trail issues, such as vandalism or downed trees. Please contact us, if this is an opportunity you would like to learn more about.
Our Chapter promotes the IANST by building relationships with a variety of local organizations. If you are interested in becoming a partner of the Indianhead Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance, please contact us if you have an event you would like us to participate in. We welcome the opportunity to bring our volunteers and promotional materials to any outreach event that is environment or community focused.
Please let us know if you would like to be added to our email list. For more information on Chapter activities, shuttles, trail conditions and/or hiking the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in this region, feel free to contact the chapter at [email protected].
- Chapter Coordinators – Barbara Ceder & Paul Kuhlmann
- Secretary – Nanette DelMonaco
- Treasurer – Cheryl Whitman
- Adopt-the-Trail Program Coordinator – Wanda Brown