Friday, April 15, 2016

Variety of day trails explore Pepin County

Silver Birch Lake Trail view of its namesake.
Though small, Wisconsin’s Pepin County offers several great day hiking opportunities.

The Chippewa River splits the northern section of the county in half then forms its eastern border before draining into the Mississippi River. A majority of its day hiking trails are located along or near the Chippewa River. Most notably, the southern/western terminus of the Chippewa River State Trail is in Durand.

Much of Pepin County consists of a system of ridges and valleys that make up the area around the Chippewa and Mississippi rivers. This region ecologically is part of the Western Coulee and Ridges area.

Depsite its small size, the county is big in history. In the late 1600s, Frenchman Nicholas Perrot brashly claimed all lands west of the Great Lakes for his king, and during the next century France dominated mining, trading and trapping in the region. Archeological evidence indicates several French trading posts existed on Lake Pepin during the 1700s. Fast-forward a century when pioneers from the East Coast arrived, and it’s the setting of the “Little House in the Big Woods,” the first in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series.

Three great trails or areas to hike in Pepin County include:
Chippewa Valley State Trail
Silver Birch Lake Trail
Tiffany Bottoms State Wildlife Area trails

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