Who was Parnell, and why does he have a tower?
Overview: The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a 1,200 mile trail that travels from the St. Croix River an hour northeast of Minneapolis, east towards Antigo, south to New Glarus -- home of an awesome microbrew -- east to Whitewater, then north to Sturgeon Bay, in scenic Door County, Wisconsin. The route roughly follows the "terminal moraine" (the maximum glacial advance) from the last Ice Age, which ended about 10,000 B.C. The Greenbush Campground to Parnell Tower segment may be combined with the next segment north, Glenbeulah to Greenbush, for a convenient half day shuttle hike. The Ice Age Trail, itself, is administered by the National Park Service, and is maintained by various public and private agencies. Mountain bikes and horses should use the nearby snowmobile trail, as they are illegal on the Ice Age Trail itself.
Camping: The Greenbush Campground, at the northern end of the hike, requires reservations, (888) 947-2757. Linked info in directions/permits section. There are bathrooms. There are two shelters #5 and #4, on this hike, and at least #5 has latrines. (With toilet paper!) But, if there is an emergency, this is Wisconsin, so you are never more than a mile from the nearest paved road.
0.0 mi.: Start by hiking south, on the mowed path, past the latrine. In about 200 yards, turn right onto the Ice Age Trail, entering the woods. This hike is not as up & down as the Glenbeulah to Greenbush segment, though the vegetation is very similar and, in some cases, quite dense. The trail surface continues to vary from dirt, to rocks, roots, grassy, and even mossy.
1.0 mi.: Pass under a power line, into a large, open kettle. (A depression in the ground scooped out by a receding ice shelf.) There is a well hand pump, just off the trail. Turn right across the kettle, then left, back into the woods. Shelter #5 is just inside the wood line.
2.2 mi.: Cross WI-67. Unlike WI-23, it is only two lanes, with not much traffic.
2.7 mi.: Turn east, following a low stone wall that borders what appears to be an old logging operation. The trail soon turns south, crossing the snowmobile / horse / mountain bike trail several times in the next mile and a half.
4.2 mi.: Shelter #4. Not sure if there is a latrine here.
4.4 mi.: Turn east, off the Ice Age Trail, onto the Parnell Tower Trail. In a half mile you will reach the stairs: Up to Parnell Tower, down to the parking area. (Which is included as part of the pass you paid for in Greenbush.) The tower is a 60 ft., three deck, observation tower. Being on top of the hike's high point, it has great 360° views of Holy Hill (35 miles away), the Moulin Kames, Dundee Mountain and Kettle Interlobate Moraine. There is a rotating, number-keyed, unmagnified spotter tube to help you locate the terrain features.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.