Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Enjoy walk along Red Cedar River in Wis.

Red Cedar River along Cedar Side Trail on
UW-Barron County campus.
An urban route, the Cedar Side Trail still maintains a back-to-nature charm as it ambles through alongside the Red Cedar River. It’s a great walk if you need to spend a little time in town, as it runs near some retail businesses in Rice Lake.

Some of the Cedar Side Trail is paved, and it’s plenty wide – up to 10 feet in some sections. A long trail, it can be broken into a number of small sections ideal for a day hike.

Among those sections is West Coleman Street south to 18-1/2 Street, which makes for a roughly 2-mile round trip on a paved path. You should find parking along West Coleman Street near the trailhead.

A good mix of evergreen and deciduous trees line the river shore while the trail’s opposite side largely look into the urban landscape. It passes behind the local community college then enters woodland upon reaching the technical college.

The Red Cedar flows for 85 miles from a reservoir on northern Barron County to the Chippewa River in southern Dunn County. This section of the river is wide and shallow with a brisk current.

Keep an eye to sky. Bald eagles have nested near the trail, and herons often rest on sandbars farther down the riverway.

The junction with 18-1/2 Street is easy to spot as the trail goes under that road just past the Barron County Restorative Justice Center.

Mile posts along the trail let you know how far you’ve walked. Riverview benches and a picnic shelter are available in some sections. Marshy areas of the longer trail boast three boardwalks. Be aware that bicyclists also use the route.

Read more about day hiking Barron County in my Hittin’ the Trail: Day Barron County, Wisconsin guidebook.