Hike Type: ~15-mile lollipop, fast pace.
If you want to really work off those holiday calories then join me on this big fast-paced hike in the southern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest on New Year's Eve day . I'll be doing an out-and-back hike on the Ice Age Trail from US 12 along with a loop at the Muir Trails to make a large tasty "lollipop" hike. The hike features plenty of kettle moraine topography, Lake La Grange, hardwood forests, pine plantations, prairie, hills and level stretches.
Meet at the large Ice Age Trail parking lot on US Highway 12 about .25 mile east of Sweno Road or 4.5 miles east of Whitewater. It is well-signed and can't be missed. A state park admission fee (yearly or day-use) is required to park at the lot, a self-registration station is available.
The hike will start on the IAT heading north from US 12, going around Lake La Grange. It then enters a hilly forested stretch before returning to prairie near Duffin Road. Right before the turnoff to the Ole Olseson cabin is an access trail to a pioneer lime kiln as well as the Muir trails. I'm thinking of doing the 4.75 mile Rainy Dew Pass (or Purple) loop, making for about a 15-mile total hike, but may decide to do the 7-mile Green loop instead; the return hike on the IAT can be shortened by a mile by taking a short cut on the Blackhawk horse trail at Lake La Grange. The pace will be a fast 4 mph on average, my normal cruising speed.
My winter hikes are very weather-dependent and if conditions end up being bad or unsafe this hike will be cancelled.