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Hiking

Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit

There are several miles of hiking trails within the forest. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail travels for 31 miles through the length of the forest. Hiking is also available at the Greenbush recreation area (13.5 miles), New Fane loop system trails (7.7 miles), Zillmer loop area (11.4 miles), Butler Lake loop (3 miles), Parnell Tower loop (3.5 miles), Tamarack loop (2 miles) and the Lake to Lake Bike Trail (6.5 miles).

Pets are allowed on all hiking trails except the nature trails, as long as they on a leash 8 feet or shorter at all times. Hiking and pets are not allowed on designated cross-country ski trails in winter.

Hiking Trails

Butler Lake loop trail

On Butler Lake Road, 1.5 miles east of Long Lake recreation area, the Butler Lake Trail winds more than 3 miles through the 158-acre Butler Lake and Flynn's Spring State Natural Area. A portion of the loop trail is shared with the Ice Age Trail. Interpretive displays are set at the base of the esker and overlook Butler Lake. A picnic table, grill and drinking water are at the trail head. Butler Lake loop [PDF].

Greenbush recreation area trails

On Kettle Moraine Drive, 2.5 miles north of State Highway 67, the Greenbush recreation area has two trail systems: four loops of challenging mountain bike trails totaling 9 miles, interwoven with five loops of hiking trails totaling 13.5 miles. Hikers and off-road mountain bikers share this multiple-use trail system in season. For safety reasons, these trails are use-specific; hiking is not allowed on the bike trails and biking is not allowed on the hiking trails.

In winter, the hiking trails are machine-groomed for cross-country skiing. Pets and hiking are not allowed on ski trails. The 1.2-mile Brown loop at Greenbush is lighted for night skiing. The bike trails are excellent for winter hiking and snowshoeing. A heated picnic shelter, picnic tables, grill, drinking water and vault toilets are near the trail head. There is also access to the Ice Age Trail. Greenbush loop system [PDF].

A state trail pass is required for all bike riders and skiers age 16 and over.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail

About 31 miles [PDF] of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail travels the length of the forest. The moderate to difficult course follows sinuous eskers and tumbled moraines descending into bogs and deep kettles. Five rustic backpack shelters are reservable for camping along the trail. The Ice Age Trail includes various portions of other forest trails. Forest Map [PDF].

Lake to Lake bike trail

This 6.5-mile limestone surfaced trail connects the Mauthe and Long Lake recreation areas and passes by the village of Dundee. This gentle trail winds through hardwood forests, prairies, conifer plantations and lowland swamps. Lake to Lake Bike Trail [PDF].

Moraine nature trail

This 0.75-mile, easy nature trail loop begins at the Ice Age Visitor Center. A self-guided booklet links to the numbered posts along the trail and identifies the common trees of the Kettle Moraine. Picnic tables are available at the trail head. Pets are not allowed on this trail. Moraine Nature Trail [PDF].

New Fane loop system trails

On County Line Road, 1.5 miles east of Kettle Moraine Drive, the New Fane area has two trail systems: four loops of moderately-challenging mountain bike trails totaling 5.5 miles, interwoven with four loops of hiking trails totaling 7.7 miles. A short connector trail trail allows hikers access to the Ice Age Trail (bikes are not allowed on the connector trail). Hikers and off-road mountain bikers share this multiple-use trail system in season. For safety reasons, these trails are use-specific; hiking is not allowed on the bike trails and biking is not allowed on the hiking trails. An open-air reservable shelter is located near the trail head and drinking water and vault toilets are available year-round. A state trail pass is required for all bike riders age 16 and over.

In winter, the hiking trails serve as ungroomed cross-country ski trails and the bike trails are open to winter hiking and snowshoeing. New Fane loop system [PDF].

Parnell Tower loop trail

On County Highway U, one quarter mile west of County Highway A, the Parnell Tower Trail begins its 3.5-mile loop with a series of steps leading to the highest point of elevation in the forest. There a 60-foot observation tower rises above the treetops for a birds-eye view of the glacial landscape. The trail follows the Ice Age Trail near a rustic backpack shelter reservable for camping. Picnic tables, grills, drinking water and vault toilets are adjacent to the trail head. Parnell loop [PDF].

Spruce Lake Bog trail

This 0.25-mile, easy boardwalk trail takes visitors through a unique open-lake bog community to Spruce Lake. This site was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service and one can expect to see sundews, pitcher plants and other rare plant species. Visitors are requested to stay on the boardwalk, due to the fragile nature of the habitat and the presence of poison sumac.

Summit trail

Accessed from the Long Lake Campgrounds (upper 900s loop), the Summit Trail is a 1-mile nature trail loop that scales Dundee Mountain. Glacial geology interpretive signs mark this challenging trail to the top of the highest kame in the forest, with panoramic views of the Campbellsport drumlins and other ice age topography. Pets are not allowed on this trail.

Tamarack loop trail

This trail can be accessed near the forest headquarters off County G or from the Mauthe Lake recreation area off County GGG. This 2-mile nature trail is entirely within the Mauthe Lake Refuge and loops around the lake. This area is closed to hunting and pets are prohibited on the trail. Flush toilets are available year-round on the headquarter's side. Tamarack loop [PDF].

Wade House access trail

A 1.7-mile linear trail that connects the Old Wade House State Historical site in Greenbush to the Ice Age Trail. The trail travels through hardwood forests, a meadow and the Kettle Moraine Red Oaks State Natural Area. Limited parking is available at the Wade House parking lot (no overnight parking). Walk one block east on Washington Street to the trail head.

Zillmer loop system trails

On County Highway SS, a quarter mile west of County Highway G, the Zillmer trail area consists of four loop trails for a total of 11 miles. The south trail head has a heated shelter, vault toilets, picnic tables, grills and drinking water. Visitors can also access the trail from the visitor center. A rustic backpack shelter is reservable for camping along the trail from April through November. In winter, forest staff regularly machine groom the trails for diagonal and skate skiing (state trail pass required for skiing). Hiking and pets are prohibited when snow is present. Zillmer loop system [PDF].