Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Peaceful day hike from river to lake awaits

A scenic segment of the Gandy Dancer State Trail runs for 2 miles north of Webster, Wis., from the Yellow River to Yellow Lake at Lone Pine Road.

As with most rail lines turned hiking trails, the former Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad corridor is flat. And despite that this section in Burnett County is close to built-up areas, it’s fairly tranquil.

To reach this segment of the trail, take Wis. Hwy. 35 north of town. Just across the Yellow River at the Yellow River Saloon and Eatery, turn left; park in the gravel lot. Access the trail by heading west in the road just north of this establishment. A 900-foot walk leads to the trail at the Yellow River’s edge.

Most of the trail is wooded, but there are some open, unshaded stretches, so be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen.

About a half mile from the Yellow River, the Gandy Dancer crosses a jeep trail then 400 feet later crosses a gravel road. Watch for vehicles on the roads, especially if children are with you.

For the next 0.75 miles, the trail becomes forested and shaded. A good mix maples, oaks, aspens and pine grow in the wooded area.

The trail then crosses Jeffries Road, so again exercise caution, as this is a busier street than the previous two.

While the trail remains wooded north of the road, the surrounding area is a bit more built up as you near Yellow Lake. About 0.4 miles from the road, you should be able to see the lake itself as the trail skirts its eastern shore.

At 2,283 acres, Yellow Lake sports a mean depth of 19 feet. It’s a popular fishing lake for catfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, musky, Northern pike, panfish, sturgeon and walleye.

Upon crossing at Finlayson Road, the trail begins to swerves away from lake. When you’ve reached Lone Pine Road, you’ve gone about 2 miles, marking a good spot to turn back.

Read more about family friendly day hiking trails in my Headin' to the Cabin guidebooks.