Prairie Views from the Ice Age Trail


Rock outcrops along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Table Bluff Segment.

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Table Bluff Segment as it approaches the steep climb up Picnic Hill at The Swamplovers.

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a 1,000 mile footpath that traverses Wisconsin, following the boundary and landforms created by the area’s most recent glaciation–known as the Wisconsin Glaciation–that ended more than 10,000 years ago.

Rock outcrops on Picnic Hill, Swamplovers Foundation

A strategically placed Leopold Bench about half way up to top of Picnic Hill along the Ice Age Trail. It’s nice for a good view and a well-deserved rest.

To aid hikers in planning and navigating, the Ice Age Trail is divided into Segments of various lengths.  The trail section pictured here is part of the Table Bluff Segment, a 2.4 mile stretch that rises some 200 vertical from the Black Earth Creek Valley to Table Bluff.  Along the way it passes through restored and prairies, savannas, and oak woodlands.

On Picnic Hill in June, after a spring prairie management burn.

On Picnic Hill in June, after a spring prairie management burn.

Hiking the Table Bluff Segment is a tale of pain and pleasure: pain from the steep climb; pleasure from the spectacular views once you reach Picnic Hill.  From here you can see the expansive Black Earth Creek Valley and catch a glimpse of Blue Mounds in the distant west.

Cream babtisia (Babtisia bracteate) on Picnic Hill at the Swamplovers.

Cream babtisia (Babtisia bracteate) on Picnic Hill at the Swamplovers.

Part of the Table Bluff Segment goes through private property of the The Swamplovers Foundation.   In addition to encouraging and welcoming users of the Ice Age Trail,  The Swamplovers Preserve has done extensive restoration work to recover the glories of prairie remnants that once–and now again–grace the glacial topography.

Pasque Flower (Anemone patens) on Picnic Hill .at The Swamp Lovers Foundation

Pasque Flower (Anemone patens) on Picnic Hill .at The Swamp Lovers Foundation.

Cream babtisia and Pasque flower are two of the many native prairie and savanna plants that are thriving along the Ice Age Trail.

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About Steve Glass

The blogger is a restoration ecologist practicing and writing in the Midwestern United States.
This entry was posted in Black Earth Creek valley, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Restoration ecology and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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