Monday, December 28, 2015

The Madison Segment of the Ice Age Trail

With temperatures just above freezing and no snow on the ground, I headed out for a brief day-after-Christmas walk on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT), tucked into my schedule between the weekend's holiday celebrations. After parking at the Ice Age Trail parking lot on the corner of High Point and McKee Roads, I set off to hike the Madison Segment of the IAT, located in Dane County.

After crossing County Highway PD (McKee Road) at the South High Point Road crossing, I followed the walk-way to the IAT. The turn onto the walk-way to the right, which continues onto the IAT was unmarked, and I  missed the turn, meeting back up with the trail a bit later. 

Madison Segment of the IAT.

View from the top of a moraine on the Madison Segment of the IAT.

On the backtrack I followed the IAT without issue. I followed the trail around a grouping of homes, through a wooded area and fields, across Raymond road, through more wooded spots and fields, briefly to the left along Flagstone Drive, and across County Highway M (Pleasant View Road). After a brief time on County Highway M (less than 1/8 mile), I followed the driveway for the O.J. Noer Turfgrass Research Center back to the trail which winds through the University Golf Course and on to Woods Road. The winds became stronger and it started to drizzle, so upon completed the Madison segment, I backtracked to the car and called it a day.

Started 5 deer behind the Turf Grass Research Center, can barely see them on this gray day.

IAT near Woods Road.

University Ridge Golf Course.

University Ridge Golf Course.

University Ridge Golf Course.

Bird food on the IAT.

I startled a number of deer on this hike, but they didn't stick around well enough to get good photos. Although the temperatures held just above freezing, the piercing wind and drizzle gave the day a colder feel. This is a relatively easy hike and easily accessible. Overall a nice walk even in mediocre weather.

Map of the Madison Segment of the Ice Age Trail.

Trail Conditions - Easy, well-maintained trail with easy hills. Occasionally joins the pavement at the bike trail and the driveway at the O.J. Noer Turfgrass research facility, with some road and golf cart path crossings and a brief stretch of road walking. Gray, drizzly, and 34°F (1°C).

Distance Covered Today - 6.4 miles (10 km) out and back.

Difficulty - Easy with a few easy hills. They hills may be considered moderately strenuous for those unaccustomed to hiking. Be careful crossing County Highway M (Pleasant View Road) as the traffic can be heavy and fast-moving.

Location - Parked at the IAT parking area near the intersection of McKee Road (County Highway PD) and South High Point Road.

Highlights - Deer sightings, views from the tops of two moraines.

Total Official Ice Age Trail Miles Completed to Date - Total official Ice Age Trail distance completed 110 miles (177 km). Trail 53 miles (85 km), connecting route 51.1 miles (82 km).

Total Additional Backtracking Miles Completed - 87.7  miles (141 km). 

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