Hiking the Lapham Peak Segment of the Ice Age Trail



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Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI
Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI
Lapham Peak is one of the major segments of the Ice Age Trail in the Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest. It packs in almost 9 miles linear and crosses a variety of terrain. A level 5 mountaineering climb ascends on both sides of Lapham Peak to an observation tower. Other connecting and intersecting trails at the Lapham Unit of the State Forest can be combined with the IAT to create loop options for day hikers. For long distance hikers, a hikers campsite is available half way up Lapham Peak. 



Observation Tower on the Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI
Observation Tower on the Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI



Views from Lapham Peak observation tower reveal many features familiar to hikers on the Ice Age Trail. You'll be able to see Whitewater Lake, Lowe Lake, Pike Lake, and Holy Hill. Also, in the distance you can view of the rising skyline of Milwaukee.

Lapham Peak is historically significant, as I learned on this hike. It is the site of the first published national weather forecast - recorded by Allen Lapham on November 8th 1870 - calling for "High winds and falling temperatures for Chicago, Detroit  and Eastern cities." It was Allen Lapham who wrote the original proposal for the establishment of a national weather service which was adopted by congress in 1870.

I've taken a college level meteorology class, and am in awe of the youth of forecasting. The science of forecasting wasn't really developed in earnest until World War II when it was critical for establishing the time for the D-Day invasion. Forecasting remains a Wisconsin innovation to this day - with the University of Wisconsin being the control center for the GOES satellites which provides satellite modeling we take for granted in this modern era.

The hike up to Lapham peak is an athletic climb. The wide IAT trail meanders through long switch backs up the northern face in what ultimately results as a level 5 mountaineering rated climb. If you're not up for a climb, you can drive to the top as well. A 24 hour water station and restrooms are available near the observation tower.

On the southeastern side of the peak the trail becomes more interesting as a single track through thick vegetation. It lands at a long walk through meadows alongside Scuppernong creek. And eventually, this trial joins the Glacier Drumlin state trail - a paved bike trail.



Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI
Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI



Ice Age National Scenic Trail - Lapham Peak Segment


COUNTY: Waukesha
COMMUNITIES: Delafield

TOTAL MILES: 8.4
DIFFICULTY: Moderate

NEXT IAT SEGMENT EASTBOUND: Delafield Segment
NEXT IAT SEGMENT WESTBOUND: Waterville Segment

CAMPING: Hikers Campsite - area for multiple hikers - register at Park Office




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: N295 County Rd C Delafield, WI 53018
| coordinates: 43.040589, -88.403432 |

From Milwaukee.5 Hours
From Madison1 Hour
From Green Bay2.5 Hours
From Wausau2.5 Hours
From Minneapolis4.5 Hours
From Chicago2 Hours


Photos



Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI
Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI


Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI
Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI


Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI
Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI

Glacier Drumlin Bike Trail and Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI
Glacier Drumlin Bike Trail and Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI