Hiking the Ice Age Trail Merrimac Segment

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The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail
The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail


The Merrimac Segment is a 3.6 mile easy footpath in the Baraboo Hills area. As a section of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail it connects with the Devil's Lake Segment at the Northwest. On the southeast end there are a few miles of quiet country and city roads to hike between the trailhead and the Merrimac Ferry which shuttles hikers across Lake Wisconsin fee free; the trailhead for the Gibraltar segment is at the south ferry terminal.

Hikers enjoy the Merrimac Segment for its quiet and pleasant miles which roll along through a gentle landscape with views of the Baraboo Hills beyond.





The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail
The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail


I began this segment at the eastern Marsh Road trailhead and hiked it towards Devil's Lake State Park. Most walkers never see the east end of this segment; it is traditionally hiked from the Devil's Lake trailhead where day hikers and dog walkers complete out-and-backs in the sunny and open areas between DLSP and the second Marsh Rd. parking lot. The eastern tail is more hilly, forested, and single track.

From the east end the trail begins by nearly encircling a large kettle. This area of the trail is up against an electric fence on one side - so do use caution. The trail then passes through former agricultural land which is now being restored to prairies, and then through a wooded area.

After crossing Marsh Rd, the trail opens up into a double track troad. The trail negotiates some wetland areas with long boardwalks. This area is within the Merrimac preserve and is being restored to pristine prairie and wetland landscapes - you'll find plenty of wildflowers throughout the summer months, and also plenty of mosquitos and gnats.

For thru-hikers, there are no campsites, water pumps, or restrooms along the Merrimac segment. However, there are plenty of these amenities at Devil's Lake, and there is a disperse campsite on the Gibraltar segment near to the ferry crossing. Backpackers find the hike between the campgrounds at DLSP and the Gibraltar disperse camping area to be an ideal distance; but it does take a complete day for this trek as the hiking on the bluff trails in Devil's Lake is challenging and is to be savored not rushed ... and the ferry crossing at Merrimac adds a forced break. The ferry makes regular circuits throughout the day and night, taking about 10 minutes to travel in one direction. There are concession stands at both ferry terminals.

Overall, the Merrimac segment is a welcome length of easy and gentle trail between the two rugged and more difficult segments of Devil's Lake and Gibraltar Rock. It is a popular option for families with young children visiting Devil's Lake, and with day hikers, and dog walkers from the surrounding area.

Baraboo Hills beyond on the Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail
Baraboo Hills beyond on the Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail




Overview: Ice Age National Scenic Trail - Merrimac Segment


COUNTY: Sauk
COMMUNITIES: Merrimac

TOTAL MILES: 3.6 miles
DIFFICULTY: Easy

NEXT IAT SEGMENT EAST BOUND: Gibraltar Segment
NEXT IAT SEGMENT WEST BOUND: Devil's Lake Segment

POINTS OF INTEREST: Merrimac 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

Nearest Address for your GPS: S7146 Marsh Rd, Merrimac, WI 53561
| coordinates: 43.386061, -89.643022 |

From Milwaukee2 Hours
From Madison45 Minutes
From Green Bay2.5 Hours
From Wausau2 Hours
From Minneapolis3.5 Hours
From Chicago3.5 Hours




Photos


Baraboo Hills beyond on the Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail
Baraboo Hills beyond on the Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail


The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail
The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail

The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail
The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail


The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail
The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail


The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail
The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail

The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail
The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail

The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail
The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail

Baraboo Hills beyond on the Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail
Baraboo Hills beyond on the Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail

A bridge doesn't have to be perfect to keep my feet dry
A bridge doesn't have to be perfect to keep my feet dry

The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail
The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail

beware the electric fence on the Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail
beware the electric fence on the Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail

Baraboo Hills beyond on the Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail
Baraboo Hills beyond on the Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail

The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail
The Merrimac Segment of the Ice Age Trail