Friday, January 22, 2016

Loop runs alongside west Wisconsin lake

Map of Menomin Loop.
Day hikers can enjoy a pleasant walk alongside a lake and through restored prairie on the Menomin Park Loop in western Wisconsin.

About 12 miles of mountain biking trails and several walking paths head through the county-owned Menomin Park that is largely undeveloped that used to largely be farmland. A great way to see the highlights of the 151.6-acre park is a 1.9-miles lollipop trail.

To reach the trailhead, from Wis. Hwy. 29 in eastern Menomonie, take Red Cedar Drive north. After the street becomes Domain Drive, turn onto the dirt road heading left/north side. A parking lot is the road’s end.

Lake Menomin
From the parking lot, the trail meanders north through a restored prairie land. At the first trail junction, go left/east, beginning the loop.

The trail then curves northwest along Lake Menomin’s shoreline. The quarter of a mile is forested on one side.

At 1009 acres, Lake Menomin is a man-made reservoir caused by the damming of the Red Cedar River. The lake reaches a maximum depth of 34 feet and sports largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, panfish, and walleye.

As the trail curls east away from the lake, it crosses a small stream and turns south, skirting a small wetlands with prairie on the other side. The prairie grasses can get quite tall here in summer. At the next trail junction, turn left/east. There’s a woods on one side and prairie on the other.

Dogs welcomed
Take the next trail heading right/south. This runs through a forested area.

At the next trail junction, go left/east and then at the one after that, turn right/south. This places hikers back on the stem trail leading to the parking lot.

Great news for dog owners: Fido is allowed at the park.

Be aware that various literature sometimes refers to the area as 3M Park or as Lake Menomin Park.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.