Ice Age National Trail - Blackhawk Segment

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Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment
Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment


The Blackhawk Segment of the Ice Age National Trail is an 8 mile linear length between the Whitewater segment at Highway 12 and the Blue Spring Lake Segment at County Line Road Young Rd. It circumnavigates Lake La Grange in an open and park like setting. It then turns into a dense forest where the path meanders past and through several small kettles.



Hiker's Shelter on the Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment
Hiker's Shelter on the Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment



This serene length of the Ice Age National Trail extends uninterrupted through it's 8+ miles. As you leave the parking lot at Highway 12, the rush of traffic will quickly fade as you descend to the banks of Lake La Grange. There are numerous benches and grassy areas beneath stately shade trees that would make perfect places to lay out and read a book. Fishing seems to be good and popular at Lake La Grange - so bring your pole and test your luck. There are several small trails that approach the shoreline shooting off from the mainline.

After a short trip around Lake La Grange hikers enter what was at one time a planned subdivision. The old subdivision roads make up what are called the La Grange trails which are used for hiking, horseback riding, and snowmobiling. The IAT skirts the edge of this subdivided area and turns into rugged woodlands.

The single track forested path begins with a level 5 mountaineering rated climb and rolls along the moraine from there to Duffin Road. There is a large and sturdy Adirondack style cabin shelter and disperse campsite atop a commanding hill near Duffin Road. From there the trail opens up into gentle prairie land as it passes nearby the John Muir Mountain Bike Trails. Here you might take one or two side trails to historic sites (but I suggest you do not). Continuing North you will walk along through pine plantations and climb once again at Kettle Morain Oak Opening before reaching County Line Road.

I made the mistake of traveling a fairly long distance off the trail to see the pioneer lime kiln. It is a sight that you can afford to pass up. I did, however take the grassy trail out to the Oleson Cabin, along which I settled down beneath a shade tree for a long break.

I turned back at Bluff Road as I was in for a 5 hour out-and-back. I was able to trim a couple miles off the return trip by taking the white blazed La Grange Trail south of Lake La Grange.

For thru-hikers, there is a very sturdy and welcoming shelter near Duffin Road. This cabin has enough floor space for a sizable group of hikers. There is also a vault toilet nearby, a picnic table, and fire pit. This is one of the better shelters I have seen on the IAT and it would be a secure place to wait out a whipping storm if need be.

Overall, this hike is remarkable for long lengths of uninterrupted trail between road crossings. There is enough time to really get into your hike before encountering humanity again.



Overview: Ice Age National Scenic Trail - Blackhawk Segment


COUNTY: Walworth
COMMUNITIES: La Grange

TOTAL MILES: 8 miles linear (14 mile out-n-back)
DIFFICULTY: Moderate

NEXT IAT SEGMENT EASTBOUND: Blue Spring Lake Segment
NEXT IAT SEGMENT WESTBOUND: Whitewater Segment

POINTS OF INTEREST: Lake La Grange, Oleson Pioneer Cabin, Pioneer Lime Kiln, Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest, Kettle Moraine Oak Opening

CAMPING: Hiker's Shelter and disperse camp area



Directions and Trail Map




Address for your GPS: 7206 US-12 Whitewater, WI 53190
| Highway 12 Parking coordinates: 42.804340, -88.652789 |

|Bad Bluff Nature Trail Parking Coordinates: 42.845935, -88.609991 |

From Milwaukee50 Minutes
From Madison1 Hour
From Green Bay2.5 Hours
From Wausau3 Hours
From Minneapolis4.5 Hours
From Chicago2 Hours



Photos


Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment - Lake La Grange
Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment - Lake La Grange

Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment - Lake La Grange
Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment - Lake La Grange

Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment
Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment


Hiker's Shelter on the Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment
Hiker's Shelter on the Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment

Hiker's Shelter on the Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment
Hiker's Shelter on the Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment

Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment
Ice Age Trail Blackhawk Segment

Pioneer Lime Kiln - IAT Blackhawk Segment
Pioneer Lime Kiln - IAT Blackhawk Segment

Pioneer Cabin - IAT Blackhawk Segment
Pioneer Cabin - IAT Blackhawk Segment