This hike offers some great views along several ridges and then down along a remote section of a reservoir for more views. This is seldom hiked as a through hike. Sections are usually done in conjunction with other trails for loops or can be done in sections as out and back hikes.

The Four Birds Trail is about 19 miles long and is a great thru hike or can be done in sections as out and back hikes or part of loop hikes with other trails.  Starting from the north, the trail ascends gradually over easy terrain until you reach a cliff ridge.  There are several good view points to the east.  The trail (marked with white blazes) parallels a forest road.  It is best to stay on the travel and not use the forest road because the Four Birds Trail will eventually descend away from the forest road.  After your first descent from the ridge, the trail will cross two other  forest roads.  The trail can be difficult to find in this section.  Watch for blazes (or download the route here). After crossing a boulder filled marsh area you begin to ascend your second ridge.  As you near the edge of this ridge you'll cross another forest road that this trail will parallel.  The trail is not on the forest road!  he trail follows very close to the cliff edge.  After descending this second reach you'll reach a stream with a wood plank crossing and soon after you'll reach Green Pond Road. This section is 3.5 miles and a good place to turn back for an out and back.

If not, cross Green Pond Road and re-enter the forest passing a kiosk with a trail map.  The trail ascend gradually for about 1.5 miles until you reach another ridge with an outstanding view point.  Turn right and follow a forest road for about 3/4 of a mile.  Watch for the white blazes as the trail turns to the right, off the forest road as it descends the ridge.  This section is rocky and difficult to navigate.  Some trail blazes are set off the trail further than expected.  After another 3/4 of a mile you'll reach Timberbrook Pond. The trail turns left and follows the shoreline for about a 1/2 mile until you reach a junction with the Timberbrook Trail (yellow blazes).  This section along the pond has a marked alternate route if the water level is too high.  This junction is a good place for an out and back if you parked on Green Pond Road.

If you continue the thru hike, the trail makes a sharp left at the Timberbrook Trail junction.  Follow the trail for about 1.5 miles over varied rocky terrain, until you reach the top of "Riley's Rise," a small hill overlooking the north end on Splitrock Reservoir. The trail turns sharply right and steeply descends a rocky trail to an open forest area.  After about 3/4 mile from Riley's Rise, you reach a trail junction with the Winnebago Trail (yellow blazes).

Continue south on the Four Birds for 3 miles.  Most of this section follows the shore line of Split Rock Reservoir and has some great view points.  The trail then begins to climb a ridge and in one mile you reach Split Rock Road.  The trail continues on the other side of the road.  This last section does not offer any view points and is rocky at times.  The trail ends on Green Pond road, further southwest from where you started. 

Pack List

  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Water and a way to filter water
  • Food (you burn a lot of calories on a 19 mile hike)
  • Trekking poles
  • Camera
Show More
RT Distance 19 Miles
Elevation Gain 1200 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Advanced
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Point-to-Point
Features
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildlife

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Hike the Hank's Pond Loop

Hank's Pond loop can be accessed from the south at the corner of Clinton road and Van Orden road or from the north, parking at the lot on Stephens road.  I hiked from the south on this trip.

2 Saves

Hike the Timberbrook Pond - Riley's Rise Loop

The trailhead parking is at the end of Timberbrook Road, before the road enters Camp Winnebago (Boy Scouts). I hiked this in a clockwise directions starting on the Timberbrook Trail (yellow markers).

10 Saves

Hike the Apshawa Preserve

This is a pretty straightforward loop-hike that has you crossing a few bridges, a stream and getting some incredible views if you are up for it.

169 Saves