Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hiking route follows Class I trout stream

Elk Creek in the Elk Creek Fishery Area, looking at the southern cascades.
Topo map, Elk Creek Fishery Trail.
Hiking route follows Class I trout stream A pleasant walk along a scenic trout stream awaits day hikers in west-central Wisconsin.

The hike runs about a half-mile round trip at the Elk Creek Fishery Area near the border of Chippewa and Dunn counties.

To reach the trailhead, from Chippewa Falls head west on Wis. Hwy. 29. After about nine miles, go right/north on 40th Street then left/west on County Road X. A gravel road on the right/north leads to the parking area, which overlooks the creek.

From the parking lot, head west down a small hill to the creek. At the water’s edge, go right/north, following the meandering stream. Though there is no official trail here, the open meadow along its banks make for an easy hike. Autumn is particular beautiful as the hardwoods and tag alder leaves change color.

In about 800 feet, you’ll pass a small cascades.

In total, the fishery covers 330 acres and includes 3.3 miles of Elk Creek, a class I trout stream. Such high quality streams are able to sustain a reproducing population of trout.

Brown trout dominates the main stream with brook trout present at its tributaries’ confluences. You’ll be able to see such a spot about 400 feet upstream from the cascades where a small stream flowing out of the surrounding farmlands joins with the main creek.

The confluence marks a good point to turn back. Upon reaching the spur heading up to the parking lot, however, instead continue walking downstream. Another small cascades appears about 150 feet from the spur.

Be sure to wear hiking boots as the grass and sandy ground along the streambanks can be wet.

Learn more about nearby day hiking trails in my Day Hiking Trails of the Chippewa Valley guidebook.