Wisconsin is one of the best place to witness landforms created by continental glaciation. The Ice Age Trail follows the outline left behind when glaciers retreated back at the end of the last Ice Age about 10,000 years ago.
Glaciers from Wisconsin Glaciation period 10,000 to 2 million years ago buried Wisconsin with a 1-mile-thick sheet of ice. The continental glacier creaked over the land and retreated as the earth warmed, and in the process it formed geologic features such as lakes, drumlins, ice-walled-lake plains, outwash plains, eskers and kettles. Those features can all be seen along the trail as is winds around mature forests, expansive prairies and sparkling rivers. The scenic terrain travels through state, federal, county and private land.
As you walk through the moderate terrain, you will step over rounded rocks and small boulders deposited between 10,000 and 25,000 years ago. The sandstone rock outcrops of Green, Rock, Dane, Columbia, Sauk and Adams counties are between 460 million and 550 million years old, while the rock outcrops at Grandfather Falls, Lincoln County, and Eau Claire Dells are 1.8 billion years old.
The Ice Age Trail shares company with the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail as one of the 11 National Scenic Trails, and it is one of Wisconsin’s 42 state trails.
Dogs are allowed in specific areas along the trial, but they must be leashed at all times. Hikers wanting to camp will need to make reservations at one of the five rustic backpack shelters along the trail.