Hiking The Ice Age Trail - Table Bluff Segment

 share this article
 follow

Ice Age Trail - Table Bluff Segment

The Table Bluff Segment is short but very sweet. It is 2.5 miles linear and makes a five mile out-n-back. You can take a couple of white blazed trails on the return to make your hike somewhat loop-like.

Just West of Madison, the karst topography of Wisconsin's Driftless Area introduces walkers on the Ice Age Trail to a more ancient version of Wisconsin terrain - one that was not smoothed and sculpted by glaciers.

The Table Bluff section is well defined and offers amenities such as parking lots, a picnic shelter, and a port-a-john, but no disperse camp sites. Overall it is a moderate walk without mountaineering rated climbs.



Ice Age Trail - Table Bluff Segment
Ice Age Trail - Table Bluff Segment


I didn’t understand the sport of hiking until I began hiking the regional trails of the Northeast. While growing up in Wisconsin I often hiked with friends or family in state parks or at nature centers – but these walks amounted to little more than nature walks. While getting your feet onto a dirt footpath is certainly good for the soul, the sport of hiking requires a different type of trail and experience.

Living in Connecticut for a few years, I was introduced to a whole new type of walking – on their expansive network of Blue Blazed Trails. Slackpacking the full length of one Blue Blazed trail could take five weekends; vertical climbs were exhilarating, and spending 5 hours at a time immersed in woodlands without encountering major roads, industry, farms, or residences meant that my soul had time to really soak it in (not to mention the 3000 kcals that could be burned in one morning of hiking).

Regional trails like these do exist in Wisconsin, but mostly far Up North. While the state forests in the Kettle Moraine and trails in the Baraboo Hills offer a taste of regional hiking, getting into the sport of hiking is challenging in Southern Wisconsin where most of the State’s population resides. The Ice Age Trail seeks to change that.

The Table Bluff Section is a stand out on the IAT. While it lacks memorable features or photogenic vistas, it provides exactly the experience of regional hiking which most State Park or nature center trails cannot. In a two hour out-n-back, hikers are treated to multiple small climbs, a sense of deep forest, immersion in oak savanna, prairie, wetland, and a general sense of gentle and serene Wisconsin landscape. More than that, it is nearby to a major urban area in Madison and Dane County and is accessible and available to a large population.

Table Bluff is the kind of trail section that will inspire new hikers to get into the sport of hiking. It proves that a good hiking footpath can exist where there is not a state forest or state park. It’s only downfall is its short length. It is such a beautiful walk that we just want it to keep going.

Ice Age Trail Hiking the Table Bluff Segment in Cross Plains WI
Ice Age Trail Hiking the Table Bluff Segment in Cross Plains WI


Overview: Ice Age National Scenic Trail - Table Bluff Segment


COUNTY: Dane
COMMUNITIES: Cross Plains

TOTAL MILES: 2.5 miles linear
DIFFICULTY: Easy

NEXT IAT SEGMENT EASTBOUND: 2 miles on roads to the Cross Plains Segment
NEXT IAT SEGMENT WESTBOUND: 4.7 miles on roads to the Indian Lake Segment

POINTS OF INTEREST: Table Bluff, Swamplover's Preserve


Directions and Trail Map




If viewing on a mobile device, open the trail map above to load into Google Maps App by touching the expand rectangle in the upper right corner

Address for your GPS: 8877 Table Bluff Road, Cross Plains, WI 53428
| Coordinates: N43.143896, W089.670328 |

From Milwaukee1.5 Hours
From Madison20 Minutes
From Green Bay2 Hours
From Wausau2.5 Hours
From Minneapolis4 Hours
From Chicago3 Hours


Photos



Along the Ice Age Trail - Table Bluff Segment
Along the Ice Age Trail - Table Bluff Segment

Along the Ice Age Trail - Table Bluff Segment
Along the Ice Age Trail - Table Bluff Segment

Along the Ice Age Trail - Table Bluff Segment
Along the Ice Age Trail - Table Bluff Segment

Along the Ice Age Trail - Table Bluff Segment
Along the Ice Age Trail - Table Bluff Segment

Along the Ice Age Trail - Table Bluff Segment
Along the Ice Age Trail - Table Bluff Segment







No comments:

Post a Comment