Sunday, September 11, 2016

Maps of 5 great Barron County day hikes

Visitors to Wisconsin’s Barron County can enjoy a number of major recreational areas, many of which contain great day hiking trails.

Five great county day hikes and maps for them include:

Cattail State Trail (Turtle Lake to Almena segment)
Active railroad lines once crisscrossed northwestern Wisconsin’s beautiful countryside, but the advent of highways made many of them obsolete. A number of those old tracks fortunately have been converted to hiking trails so that modern day walkers can enjoy a plethora of scenery from woodlands to rolling pastures. Among them is the Cattail State Trail, which runs for nearly 18 miles on an old Soo Line rail bed between Amery (in Polk County) and Almena with access in Turtle Lake. Its location is perfect for a number of visitors to Polk and Barron counties.

Cedar Side Trail segment
An urban route, the Cedar Side Trail still maintains a back-to-nature charm as it ambles alongside the Red Cedar River. It’s a great walk if you need to spend a little time in town, as it runs near a few retail businesses in Rice Lake. Some of the Cedar Side Trail is paved, and it’s plenty wide – up to 10 feet in some sections. A long trail, it can be broken into a number of small sections ideal for a day hike. Among those sections is West Coleman Street south to 18-1/2 Street, which makes for a roughly two-mile round trip on a paved path.

Cedar Lake Area County Forest trails
As with all Barron County Forests, several unnamed trails crisscross the wooded area. One you might try is the northernmost one, off of Valley Road, which heads west for 2.5 miles through a nice mix of hardwoods; it ends at a gate just shy of Red Cedar Lake.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Waterman Lake Area County Forest segment
Day hikers will have several opportunities to spot the impressive white-tailed deer on a segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail south of Shell Lake. The 2.6-miles round trip segment of the Ice Age Trail runs through Waterman Lake Area County Forest. The Ice Age Trail runs 1200 miles across the state, mostly marking the farthest advance of the last glacier to touch these parts some 11,000 years ago.

Wild Rivers State Trail, Rice Lake segment
A walk through pleasant woodlands and scenic farmland await users of the Wild Rivers State Trail near Rice Lake. The trail runs for around 100 miles across three counties on an old Omaha and Soo Line Railroads rail line connecting the city to Superior. A good place to experience the trail is at its southern end. Park north of the Rice Lake city limits at the Tuscobia trail junction on County Road SS, near its intersection with U.S. Hwy. 53. You can head south for about four miles into Rice Lake at West Knapp Street. Arrange to have someone bring you back to where you parked, or turn around at any time on the trail.

Read about nearby trails in Hittin’ the Trail: Day Barron County, Wisconsin.