Saturday, November 7, 2015

Western Wisconsin trail passes scenic lake

Silver Birch Lake
Map of Silver Birch Park Trail,
courtesy of Pepin County, Wis.
Day hikers can enjoy a walk alongside a lake and through the woods on the Silver Birch Park Trail in western Wisconsin.

The 0.6-mile round trip trail runs through Silver Birch Park to Holden Park Campground in Pepin County.

To reach the trail, from Durand, head west on Wis. Hwy. 25. Upon crossing the Chippewa River, turn left/south onto County Road P. Go left/south onto Silver Birch Road. At County Road NN/Round Hill Road, turn right/west. The next left/south is the park entry road. Use the parking spaces near the boat ramp.

Before hitting the trail, take a walk across the picnic area to Silver Birch Lake. As if it were a mirror, the lake impressively reflects the blue sky and clouds on days when the wind is low. The reflection seems to stretch forever - not surprisingly as the lake’s surface area covers 145 acres and contains two small islands. The lake is popular with fishermen as it offers catfish, largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye and a variety of panfish.

For the walking path, head to the picnic area’s north side and follow the paved road east. Where the road forks, go right/southwest.

You’ll soon come to a walking path that cuts right/west between two fences. Take that path. After a bit, a tree canopy covers the route, which makes for a nice autumn walk when leaves change color.

Upon reaching the next asphalt road, you’ve arrived at Holden Park Campground. This marks a good spot to turn back.

The area surrounding and including Silver Birch Park is remarkably flat. That’s because it is an outwash plain formed some 8000-12,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. As glaciers melted, the water flowed southward in broad sheets centered on the nearby Chippewa River. It dropped sand and other sediment to the ground as leveling out the terrain.

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