Thursday, February 11, 2016

Trio of Wisconsin trails head around lakes

Trail at Hickory Ridge. Photo courtesy of
Day hikers can enjoy a pleasant walk around several placid lakes and ponds at the Hickory Ridge Recreational Area in western Wisconsin.

Though primarily cross-country skiing trails, the series of stacked loops can be hiked during the other seasons. There are three main trails on site.

To reach Hickory Ridge, from Bloomer, head west on Wis. Hwy. 64. Go left/north onto County Road AA then right/east onto 226th Avenue, which as veering south naturally becomes 225th Avenue (aka Bob Lake Road). The parking lot for the South Loop is on the north side of the road just east of Big Buck Lake. To reach the North and the Tram Lake loops, from 225th Avenue, go left/north on 157th Street immediately after Hemlock Lake and then turn right/east onto Hickory Ridge Trail.

The trails include:
South Loop – The 3.1-miles round trip lollipop mainly circles around Burnt Wagon Lake as cutting through a classic northern hardwood forest. Before getting to the lake, it passes a wet meadow known locally as the “Great Swamp.”
North Loop – The 3.75-miles round trip trail mainly winds around Fishpole Lake. Park on the shoulder of the road west of Hay Meadow Trail.
Tram Lake Loop – To reach the trail, which winds around Tram Lake, head north on the western leg of the North Loop then take the first trail junction going right/east. Tram Lake Loop runs 2.2-miles. As with the North Loop, park on the road shoulder.

A nonprofit, Friends of Hickory Ridge, maintains the trails. No fee is required to hike the trails, but a donation box is at the parking lot. Dogs are not allowed on the trails.

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