Kettle Moraine

Location: South Central Wisconsin
Trip Starts: Park Campground
Trip Ends: Park Campground
Total Distance: 4 miles
Hike Type: In & Out, Backtrack Hike
Hike Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Trails Used: Ice Age Trail
Trail Traffic: Moderate
Trip Type: Day Hike
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Kettle Moraine SP


The Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest is 21,000 acres of glacial hills. The forest headquarters houses a museum and auditorium where a twenty-five minute narrated slide show is played upon request. Two pioneer cabins (Oleson and Gotten) have been restored here one of which overlooks Ottawa Lake, the main recreation area in the forest. The forest is also known for its extensive trail system, and a 31 mile section of the Ice Age National Scenic trail transverses the forest. It has three backpack shelters available for overnight accommodation.

We tried, during our visit, to book one of the backcountry shelters and to complete a multi-day hike on the Ice Age Trail. Unfortunately, we were unable to get a reservation and ended up day hiking the section and camping at a nearby state campground. Regardless, the Kettle Moraine section has glacial features such as kames, eskers, kettles, and moraines and should not be missed. It is one of nine units of the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin and it is easily accessed from from major cities like Madison and Milwaukee.

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