Backpack the Milwaukee River and Butler Lake Segments of the Ice Age Trail

Milwaukee River Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Matt Johnson

Check off another portion of the IAT and explore the northern Kettle Moraine section of the trail. A great experience for newcomers and fall exploration.

The Milwaukee River Trailhead for the Ice Age Trail (IAT) is located on WI-28, east of the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive. Before the hike, make sure to pack water, or hike off-trail to the New Fane trailhead (1.1 mile round trip, we got caught doing this) for an early water source on the trail. The Kettle Moraine State Forest had been shaped and sculpted by glacier thousands of years ago, leaving the trail segment with lots of small dips and hills. The hike was well marked, and very easy to follow. After the first 4.5 miles, Shelter #2 can be seen to the left of the trail. This shelter is available for reservation only. Up roughly 0.5 miles is a water source for the shelter at a small creek. From the creek, the Mauthe Lake campgrounds offer walk-in, electrical, and car camping sites. There are water-sources, showers, and toilets available at the campground. 

From Mauthe Lake, the trail quickly walks up against against Forest Lake for another water source. The remaining portion of the trail was very similar to the rest of the trail, with small hills and dips, but very well marked trails. Reaching Butler Lake Trailhead, there was a small overlook and a hand-pump for hikers wishing to continue the segment all the way to the Parnell Tower and Shelter #4 (see Visit the Parnell Observation Tower for more info)

Distance

16.8 Miles RT

Type

Point-to-Point

Activities

Camping, Backpacking, Hiking

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic

Nearby Lodging

Madison KOA

Vienna, Wisconsin

Milton KOA

Edgerton, Wisconsin

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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