Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Great hikes crisscross Chippewa County

Rocks cliff alongside Irvine Park Loop.
Wisconsin’s Chippewa County is prime day hiking country. Two state parks, a state recreation area, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, the Old Abe State Trail, an impressive city park in Chippewa Falls, and several smaller county and city parks all can be found here. Much of the county’s northern portion is a showcase for moraines, kettle lakes and other post-ice age features. The Chippewa River splits the county in half, running diagonally northeast to southwest.

Chippewa Falls, the county’s largest city, sits on the Chippewa River and shares a similar lumbering and manufacturing legacy as nearby Eau Claire to the south. Today, it is headquarters for the original Cray Research and home of the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. The southern end of the Old Abe Trail is located here; a couple of other good trails also can be found in Irvine Park.

In Cornell, Brunet Island State Park covers 1300 acres on the Chippewa River and boasts several quiet lagoons. To the south, Lake Wissota State Park spans over a thousand acres along a reservoir on the Chippewa. The Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area at more than 3000 acres in size preserves several unique landforms created during the last ice age.

Six great trails to hike in Chippewa County include:
• Jean Brunet Nature Trail
• Lake Trail
Circle Trail
• Ice Age National Scenic Trail
Old Abe State Trail
Irvine Park Loop

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