Hiking the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment

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Straight Lake on the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment
Straight Lake on the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment


The Ice Age Trail's Straight Lake Segment is a 3.65 mile linear footpath in the northwestern Wisconsin village of Luck. Currently, this hiking trail is the only feature of Wisconsin's newest state park: Straight Lake State Park. The terrain is mild and easy going and the trail is well established and maintained. The trail offers many scenic views of the tunnel channel, Straight Lake, Rainbow Lake, and the Straight River Valley.




On the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment
On the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment


It is almost a shame that this secluded natural wilderness will one day be a state park bustling with activity. For now, it is our little secret. Anglers will quickly fall in love with this 107 acre lake. It is not more than 12 feet deep, but is teaming with panfish, especially bluegill according to reports. largemouth bass and northern pike have been pulled from Straight Lake. But, it is the privacy and unspoiled wilderness surrounding this lake that make it a spectacular fishing site.

I even saw what I believe to be a whooping crane in the marshy area at the northeast end of the lake. If I'm not mistaken, there are less than 400 whooping cranes residing in the United States - though a true birder might correct me. It is hard to imagine that a rare endangered bird would put up with anything less than its very own secluded lake.

In the fall of 2016, as I write this, the state DNR is installing the first developments at Straight Lake State Park. A number of rustic campsites with ready access to the lakeshore will be established along with some vault toilets, parking, boat access, and a few picnic areas. In the future the camping grounds may be expanded to include group sites and a ranger station may go in. To my knowledge, camp sites will be self registration in the beginning. All of this will be on the south shore with access from County Highway GG.

At the same time, the Ice Age Trail Alliance will be establishing disperse camp areas along the Ice Age Trail on the northern shoreline of Straight Lake. Other improvements to the trail will include upgrades to existing boardwalks in potentially swampy areas.

The Straight Lake Segment of the IAT is well maintained and easy to follow. The trail begins at the connection with the Trade River Segment. It crosses through dense forest and then courses along the shaded high ground on the northern shore of Straight Lake. After a brief rock hop over the Straight River the trail begins to pick up in elevation. There are a few mild hill climbs, but nothing that will really get your heart racing.

The trail eventually crosses onto private grazing land - for about the last 1/2 mile of the trail. Hikers pass through a counterweighted gate to enter the grazing area. You'll notice the difference immediately as the underbrush here has been nibbled down to stumps by a heard of cattle. From the southern trailhead there is a short walk along county highways to hook up with the next segment: The Straight River Segment.

The Straight Lake Segment is a mild, easy trail that is well defined. It can be enjoyed by the whole family, people of any age, and by anyone of any athletic ability. I didn't notice any evidence of bears in the area, but it might be a good idea to pack a handy can of bear spray for this walk.


On the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment
On the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment


Overview: Ice Age National Scenic Trail - Straight Lake Segment


COUNTY: Polk
COMMUNITIES: Luck

TOTAL MILES: 3.65
DIFFICULTY: Easy-Moderate

NEXT IAT SEGMENT EASTBOUND: Trade River Segment
NEXT IAT SEGMENT WESTBOUND: Straight River Segment

POINTS OF INTEREST: Straight Lake State Park, Straight Lake, Tunnel Channel Lakes, Rainbow Lake, Straight River

CAMPING: Disperse Camp Areas Along the trail, Rustic Campsites at Straight Lake State Park side of Straight Lake



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: 2815 130th Street, Luck, WI 54853
| coordinates: 45.612186, -92.428978 |

From Milwaukee5 Hours
From Madison4 Hours
From Green Bay4 Hours
From Wausau3 Hours
From Minneapolis1 Hour
From Chicago6 Hours



PHOTOS


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Whooping Crane On the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment
Whooping Crane On the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment

On the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment
On the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment

On the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment
On the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment

On the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment
On the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment

On the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment
On the Ice Age Trail Straight Lake Segment








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