Sunday, May 29, 2016

Some overlooked trails in Chippewa County

Witt Park Nature Walk. Photo courtesy City of Bloomer.
While Wisconsin’s Chippewa County is well-known for its number of high-quality hiking trails –those at Brunet Island and Lake Wissota state parks and the Old Abe State Trail among them – there are a few lesser known ones that are interesting to walk.

Four of them in particular take hikers into remote woodlands, offering great back-to-nature experiences:
Hay Meadow Horse trails – The 22-mile equestrian trail system runs across glacial moraines through woodlands full of lakes, ponds and streams. An easy to access route is the Beaver Pond Trail, which runs east from a parking lot off of Hay Meadow Flowage Trail road north of 225th Avenue northeast of Bloomer.
Moon Ridge Trails – Located in the Chippewa County Forest northwest of Cornell, a number of trails (including the Ice Age National Scenic Trail) crisscross the maple, basswood and ash woodlands. Watch for trailheads off of Moon Ridge Trail road (aka 226th Street), south of County Road M, and park on the road’s shoulder.
Ruby County Forest trails – A number of jeep trails run through the Town of Ruby County Forest northeast of Cornell and southwest of Lake Holcombe. One good trail is on the north side of 245th Avenue east of County Road G.
Tom Lawin Wildlife Area – No designated trails run through the wildlife area and the Lawin Sedge Meadow State Natural Area it surrounds, but there are a number of deer trails that traverse the grounds southeast of Jim Falls. Parking areas can be found along 127 th Avenue (aka Wildlife Drive) and County Road K west and south of their intersection.

Two others can be found of the county’s cities:
Chapman Lake Trail – A narrow footpath loops Chapman Lake with a couple of scenic white footbridges on the nearly 2-mile route in Stanley. Parking is available at Chapman Park off of West Eighth Avenue north of County Road O/West Fourth Avenue.
Witt Park Nature Walk – A small trail winds through the Bloomer park that sits along the shore of Duncan Creek. The park is on Chipprewa Road south of Main Street.

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