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Looking for premier hiking in the Midwest. Look no furture….The Ice Age Trail is a National Scenic Trail located entirely within Wisconsin. The trail is also one of 42 designated Wisconsin state trails and the only one specifically designated as a “State Scenic Trail.” From Interstate State Park on the Minnesota border to Potawatomi State Park on Lake Michigan, the Ice Age Trail winds for more than 1,000 miles, following the edge of the last continental glacier in Wisconsin.
One of only 11 National Scenic Trails, the Ice Age Trail is intended to be a premier hiking trail and conservation resource for silent sport and outdoor enthusiasts. The trail traverses some of Wisconsin’s most scenic landscapes and helps tell the story of the last Ice Age by highlighting Wisconsin’s unique glacial features.
Primary attractions include topography left by glaciation in the Last Ice Age. Glacial features along the trail include kettles, potholes, eskers, and glacial erratics. Many of the best examples of glacial features in Wisconsin are exhibited in units of the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve, most of which lie along the trail.
The Ice Age Trail is primarily an off-road hiking and backpacking trail that provides excellent opportunities for sightseeing, wildlife viewing and bird watching. In winter, some sections of the trail are open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Opportunities are available for camping along the Ice Age Trail in national, state and county forests and in many state and county parks, including some private campgrounds. Campgrounds can vary from primitive walk-in campsites to facilities complete with electric hookups. When planning a trip, it is best to check ahead of time for camping locations and availability. The Ice Age Trail Atlas and Guidebook, which are available for sale from the Ice Age Trail Alliance, provide camping and lodging details for all segments of the trail.
The Ice Age Trail travels through 30 counties on state, federal, county and private lands, connecting dozens of communities. There are hundreds of trailheads and access points located along the trail route. More than 600 miles of trail are open. The completed sections of the trail are connected by less-traveled roadways and other temporary routes.
Stone steps lead the way up the bluff trails at Devil’s Lake State Park.
The Ice Age Trail goes through several state and federal lands in Wisconsin, including traveling many miles through county and private lands. In addition to the state parks and forests listed below (from west to east along the trail), the Ice Age Trail travels through many state wildlife and fishery areas and some state natural areas.
Interstate State Park, Saint Croix Falls
Straight Lake State Park, near Frederic
Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area, near New Auburn
Brunet Island State Park, Cornell
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Hartman Creek State Park, near Waupaca
Devil’s Lake State Park, near Baraboo
Kettle Moraine State Forest
Southern Unit, Eagle
Lapham Peak Unit, near Delafield
Loew Lake Unit, near Monches
Pike Lake Unit, near Hartford
Northern Unit, near Campbellsport
Point Beach State Forest, near Two Rivers
Potawatomi State Park, near Sturgeon Bay
The Ice Age Trail includes parts of other Wisconsin state trails.
Gandy Dancer, St. Croix Falls to Frederic
Tuscobia, Rice Lake to Birchwood
Mountain-Bay, near Hatley
Military Ridge, near Verona
Badger, near Fitchburg
Sugar River, Monticello to Albany
Glacial Drumlin, near Wales
Eisenbahn, near Kewaskum
Ahnapee, Casco Junction to Sturgeon Bay
Interstate State Park, Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area and the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine Forest – all units of the Ice Age Scientific Reserve – have Ice Age Educational and Interpretive Centers with major displays in glacial history and geology.https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/iceagetrail/
Love sand and hiking on packed sandy paths? Indiana Dunes National Park, designated as the nation’s 61st national park is located in Northwestern Indiana along the southern shores of Lake Michigan. The park runs for nearly 25 miles alongside of Lake Michigan containing approximately 15,000 acres where you will find sand dunes, wetland, river, prairie and forest ecosystems. The Park is host to a wide variety of wildlife including white-tailed deer, red fox, raccoons, opossums, cottontail rabbits, various rodents, Canada geese, gulls, squirrels, hawks, turkey vultures , mallards, great blue herons,
songbirds and garter snakes.
There are nine different diverse trails to explore!
* Paul H. Douglas Trail
* Tolleston Dune Trail
* Succession Trail.
* Bailly-Chellberg Trail.
* Little Calumet River Trail.
* Cowles Bog Trail.
* Calumet Dune Trail
* Glenwood Dune Horse and Hiking Trail
The Indiana Dunes has over 369 species of flowering plants of which thirteen are considered threatened or in danger of extinction. In addition, there are four invasive flowering plants on the list. Some of the more common spring flowers you will find include the May apple, 6 varieties of buttercups, and violets (14 types). During the Summer months orchids( 5 types) and lots of goldenrods (11 types) can be found.
For your first visit to the park, it is highly recommended that you visit the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center located at U.S. Route 20 and Indiana Route 49 near Porter, Indiana. The center offers standard visitor-center amenities including a video, brochures, hands-on exhibits and a gift shop. It is free to the general public.
If you like to camp…..check out the Dunewood Campground located on U.S. Route 12 which includes two loops of trailer accessible sites and a RV dump station. All sites have grills, a picnic table and access to restrooms with running water and showers. There are also a limited number of camp sites at the neighboring Douglas Loop. The park provides for 45 miles of hiking, fishing, swimming, horseback riding and cross-country skiing. Cycling is available on the Calumet Trail which is a crushed limestone multi-use trail that runs through the eastern section of the park. With all the things to see and do here……………….the park will draw over 2 million visitors each year.
Devil’s Lake State Park is located in Baraboo, Wisconsin and is Wisconsin’s most popular state park with about 3 million visitors per year. The over 9,000 acre park anchors more than 27,000 acres of parkland and natural areas.
A great place to start – The Nature Center. A three-dimensional landform model of the park will bring the park terrain into sight from a bird’s-eye view. A series of panoramas make clear the formation of the valley, once 1,000 feet deep, now half-filled with rock and sediment and topped by the 50-foot-deep Devil’s Lake. Hands-on items include various bones, furs, shells, and rocks.
There is a lot to keep you busy at Devil’s Lake State Park! Devil’s Lake has 2 large, sandy, beaches, large picnic areas with charcoal grills, reservable and non-reservable shelters and over 29 miles of hiking & mountain bike trails. Concessions offer kayak, canoe and paddleboat and stand-up board rentals as well. Local Outfitters provide rock climbing and bouldering instruction as well as guided backcountry hikes & step on guide services.
Devil’s Lake State Park is known for it’s amazing rock formations and expansive vistas from the top of the Baraboo Bluffs! If this is what you’re looking for and you only have time for one trail, we recommend the East Bluff Trail. Plan for 3 – 4 hours.
If you’re looking for a flat trail, there are paved paths that go through the beach areas on the both sides of the lake near the beaches. The best flat trail options are the Tumbled Rocks trail along the bottom of the West Bluff or the Grottos Trail on the South Shore.
Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy a camper, which is kind of the same thing.”
— Somebody that is not me.
Yellowstone is a behemoth National forest. There is a lot to check out in the park as well as luckily lodging in Yellowstone abounds. Yellowstone has more National forest hotels within park boundaries than any other park, as well as camping areas are plentiful as well. Behind Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone is regularly the second-most popular national park for outdoor camping. Currently you are most likely assuming, “plan in advance …” And also yes, while planning in advance is essential in aiding you optimize a Yellowstone National forest holiday, if you are intending an eleventh hour get-a-way you may still have the ability to grab a first-come, first-serve outdoor camping area or hotel room. Last month, I did just that. Utilizing Yellowstone’s online tools, which we’ll discuss in this article, I had the ability to obtain a last minute camping site with my Sprinter Van with no ahead preparation.
In this article, we’ve created a guide to aid you find campsites in Yellowstone National forest, in addition to other lodging options. If you can’t obtain an area in the park, you’ll discover some practical ideas for lodging outside the park also.
Crucial Notes to Consider Concerning Yellowstone Accommodations
Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins are the only interior lodging options open year-round.
Roosevelt Lodge & Cabins are the earliest to close at the end of the summertime season. They are only open very early June to very early September.
None of the lodging choices in Yellowstone have tvs. We only say this to remind you that you are staying in a lodge in a National Park. Expect it to be a little rustic!
And don’t get as well caught regarding trying to determine which lodge/cabins are the very best. They are all run by the exact same park concessionaire, Xanterra. The facilities from one lodge to another just differ slightly. Again, exact same advice as selecting campgrounds– concentrate on the area of the park you wish to stay for the night.
It is worth checking out a few of the lodges during your Yellowstone journey if just for a pit-stop, as a few of them are National Historic Landmarks. Below are our favorites for scoping out:
Lake Yellowstone Hotel has a lovely sun area that ignores Yellowstone Lake with many comfy sofas as well as chairs readily available to absorb the view. Outside you’ll typically locate classic Yellowstone touring cars. The resort is among the nicest in the park as well as features a large bar, which makes for a great place to get an alcoholic drink as well as take a little break from exploring.
Do not miss the renowned map space at the Mammoth Hot Springs Resort. It features a map of the USA built from numerous types of timber.
Old Faithful Inn is a should go to; it is just one of one of the most historical and famous resorts in the whole National Park system. You can not miss its grand existence behind Old Faithful. The Inn is the biggest log hotel in the whole globe. They provide FREE trips daily when the hotel is open, call or inspect online for excursion times. Expert Tip: There is a great little coffee stand tucked away upstairs as well as there is also a bake shop in the hotel if you are desire a sweet reward.
Before we start, I should obviously mention that there is no “right” amount of money to save for a thru-hike. Finances on trail, like in normal life, fluctuate depending on who is spending the money. We all have different wants, needs, and income, so therefore it is near impossible to give anyone an exact number.
However, based on my past experience and the past experience of other thru-hikers, I can provide an average dollar amount for anyone to use as a baseline.
I’ll cut right to the chase and tell you that on my 2018 Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike, I spent $8,446.81 ON TRAIL. This number does not include my gear related expenses prior to starting the the trail. You can find those expenses here.
I averaged $3.19 per mile ($8,446.81/2,650 miles). Or if you like to think of it this way, $345 per week on trail ($8,446.81/24.5 weeks).
(If watching + listening is more your thing, check out my video on this topic here.)
From speaking with other thru-hikers, I would place myself in the middle-to-high range regarding my expenses. I drank beer whenever I was in town, ate multiple hot meals, stayed in hotel rooms in almost every town, went bowling, got a massage, took a side trip to watch a SpaceX rocket launch, went to the movies, and so on. I treated my first thru-hike as more of an “overall experience” rather than just hiking.
However, speaking to other hikers who strictly hiked and wanted to get in and out of a town as quickly as possible, they all seemed to average $125-$150 per week. This was mainly re-supply costs with low cost lodging built in from time to time (i.e. sharing motel rooms).
Then there are those who told me they spent well over $10,000 on their thru-hike. Assuming it took them 5 months (22 weeks), that is around $455 per week.
So what does this mean for you?
You need to decide what kind of thru-hike experience you are looking for. Are you wanting to have a similar hike to mine? Where I took my time, enjoyed multiple zeroes (a day where you don’t hike at all), ate and drank merrily, and most definitely enjoyed plenty of hot baths? Or did you want to be efficient in town and make sure to get back on trail as quickly as possible?
Saving $150 per week on trail will make your hike doable, but there is not much room for luxuries or injuries! What if you need to rest for a week due to an ankle injury? Will you have enough money to stay in a motel for 7+ days? What if you have a gear failure and need to buy new trekking poles? Or a new sleeping bag? Will you have the money to cover that?
And don’t forget the costs of your “real life”. Do you have a mortgage? Or a car payment you need to make every month? I’m sure you have a cellphone payment. When creating a budget, don’t forget about those areas back home that are unrelated to the trail.
But strictly speaking finances for on trail itself, let’s break-down each category I listed above so you can get a feel for what areas you want to focus saving in:
Food + Drinks: Have you accounted for your hiker hunger and the fact your body will want 3000-5000 calories a day? And the sometimes intense cravings you will experience on trail that will force you to do whatever it takes to satisfy that craving? All I ever wanted was yellow Gatorade, Diet Coke, and burgers. Sometimes two. Then ice cream. And coffee. So yes, you might find yourself eating two entrees at one given meal. With an appetizer. And a dessert.
I didn’t carry a stove, so there is a chance my desire for a hot meal outweighed those who cooked on trail, but I definitely on more than once occasion would order two hot meals for dinner. And sometimes I would still be hungry! And I usually always had at least one beer. So if you think you might have an appetite and thirst like mine, please save for this! Drinking beer is not a necessity, but it sure did make my soul happy after a grueling section.
My average: $112 per week
Resupply: I didn’t mail myself any resupply boxes, so your expense here can be lowered if you purchased most of your food before you even step foot on trail. I bought most of my food in towns along the way, and then people like you definitely spoiled me and sent me some boxes of incredible food!
But do expect that your tastebuds are likely to change on the trail and there is a good chance what you prepared for yourself to eat months ago is NOTHING of what your body wants. Hikers will get sick of the most random foods but are able to eat the same food every day, and you sometimes can’t guess which foods will do that to you. I ate Clif Bars every day and still love them. But you need to get Couscous away from me please.
My average: $33 per week
Lodging: Alright y’all, I sure do love my private hotel rooms with a hot bath! Which means I spent a lot in this area. But in my defense, my now husband bought me a lot of these rooms so therefore, it didn’t come from my savings. BUT, I did include them in the total price anyway just to give you an idea of how much it will cost if you do the same.
I shared rooms with hikers several times, but I am someone who really appreciated having a room to myself where I could edit videos and talk to family without disruption. Trail angels are a great resource as they often provide free or low cost places to stay. And at the end of the day, camping on the trail is free.
My average: $108 per week
Gear + Clothing Replaced: This expense is so high mainly because I bought a new sleeping bag half way through my hike. The sleeping bag I started with was years old and had already lost a lot of the feathers and therefore not as warm as I needed it to be.
But also, socks. I bought so many pairs of socks it’s not even funny. God Bless the Injinji.