Saturday, January 7, 2017

Whitewater Lake Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Looked forward all week to the weekend photographing the scenic vistas along the Whitewater Lake Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT). Thought I'd get some excellent sunrise photos, and arrived early to make it happen. As things go, the weather had other ideas. Overcast skies made for a gray morning. That said, this lovely stretch of trail thrills the senses even on the grayest of days.

The Whitewater Lake Segment of the IAT runs 4.6 miles (7.4 km) through the Kettle Moraine State Forest and Bluff Creek State Wildlife Area in Walworth County near Whitewater, Wisconsin.

Along the IAT.

Met a snowman at the scenic overlook near the campground.

The bridge near Clover Valley Road.

This segment of the IAT offers several excellent features. I really enjoyed the area with the stream and the 30 foot bridge near Clover Valley Road, pretty and really peaceful. I sat on the bench and just enjoyed being there for a while. I also liked the view of Whitewater and Rice Lakes from the high point about a quarter of a mile northeast of the campground. That said, my favorite thing about this segment is the contrast of the rugged, hilly glacial terrain with the pine groves. It's all ups and downs, then suddenly everything flattens out. The trail passes through two lovely stands of pines, peaceful and resin scented. 

A selfie with my new friend overlooking Rice and Whitewater Lakes.

Along the trail.

View towards Whitewater.

This segment offers welcoming benches at the scenic overlooks.

The hike unfolded slowly due to the icy conditions and deep frozen footprints which made the hike feel like a walk over a bed of big, slippery rocks. Despite the grayness and the icy footprints, I really enjoyed the beauty of the Whitewater Lake Segment of the IAT. I plan to return to take in this segment in another season with my family on a weekend car camping trip.

Map of Whitewater Lake Segment of the IAT.

Total Distance Covered -  9.2 miles (14.8 km) total, 4.6 miles (7.4 km) one way. 

Difficulty - Moderate with hills throughout.

Trail Conditions - Blazed and well trodden trails. Frozen footprints made for lumpy, icy walking 32°F (0C).

Highlights -  Scenic views of the surrounding countryside and hilly glacial terrain.

Total Ice Age Trail Miles to Date - Total official trail distance completed  234 miles (375 km).

Amenities - Camping is available at the Whitewater Lake Campground in the Kettle Moraine State Forest (campsites are adjacent to the IAT). The camping area does not offer showers or plumbed toilet facilities. The ranger's office is approximately 0.3 miles off the IAT on a spur trail near the campground.

Location - Parked at the IAT trailhead parking area on Highway 12 where the highway meets Sherwood Forest Road.

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