Friday, May 13, 2016

Several excellent trails cross Dunn County

White pines on Tower Nature Trail.
While most of Wisconsin’s Dunn County consists of splendid farmland, the Red Cedar River corridor running south from through Menomonie to the Chippewa River offers outdoor recreational opportunities.

The bulk of the county’s trails are located in or near the city of Menomonie, the county’s most populous community. The city’s name is derived from the local Native American word for “wild rice people,” and is centered on Lake Menomin, a former marshy area along the now dammed Red Cedar River. It is home of the University of Wisconsin-Stout campus and offers several excellent trails, most notably the Red Cedar State Trail.

The former rail line runs 14 miles along the river to the confluence with the Chippewa River. With a limestone surface and fairly flat grade, the easy-to-hike trail offers great views of the two rivers, wooded bluffs, high rock walls, and plenty of wildlife including bald eagles. In Menomonie, park at the Depot Visitor Info Center off of Wis. Hwy. 29 immediately west of the Red Cedar bridge.

Half-a-billion years ago, much of Dunn County was a coastal plain bordering a sea. It has since been uplifted hundreds of feet with erosion over the millennia and the most recent ice ages reducing the terrain to the fairly flat surface that once existed here. Ecologically, it’s part of the Western Coulee and Ridges area.

Five great trails to hike in Dunn County include:
Menomin Park Loop
Red Cedar State Trail
Chippewa Valley State Trail
Muddy Creek Wildlife Area Trail
Tower Nature Trail

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