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Greenbush to Parnell Tower - Ice Age Trail, WI

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Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List WI > Northeastern
3 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 5.11 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,093 feet
Elevation Gain 125 feet
Accumulated Gain 590 feet
Avg Time One Way 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.08
Backpack Yes
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
32  2015-06-05
Glenbeulah to Greenbush - Ice Age Trail
Author kingsnake
author avatar Guides 83
Routes 182
Photos 7,946
Trips 637 map ( 5,893 miles )
Age 57 Male Gender
Location Sunnyslope, PHX
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Sep, Oct, Jun
Sun  5:33am - 6:01pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Who was Parnell, and why does he have a tower?
by kingsnake

Likely In-Season!
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.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

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2015-06-10 kingsnake

    One-Way Notice
    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.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    Greenbush to Parnell Tower - Ice Age Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    My Aunt Mary passed away last September, and her wish was to have her ashes scattered at Cedar Lake, where our family has had a cabin for something like 100 years. (I had my first beer there, a Pabst, when I was six; Wisconsin was a different place back then.) It turned into a bit of a family reunion, with me meeting distant cousins I had never met before, including one who is a hiker in Sedona. (Small world.) Though she passed away four years ago, we scattered my cousin Dana's ashes at the same time. (I had also never met Dana, but when I watched her memorial video the day before, I got choked up: She had the most amazing smile I've ever seen!)

    As with every other trip I take, I make it a point to do some hiking. (Particularly a hike I can turn into a video. :whistle: ) I'm a natural planner, so prior to the trip, I plotted out several trips worth of hikes on the nearby Ice Age Trail. :D

    As I planned the hike(s) it began to dawn on me that I had hiked this area before. 42 years before, to be exact. When I was (briefly) a Boy Scout, we had a hike that I remember heading south from a very small town. We were supposed to hike a trail, but as it was November, and thus the High Holy Days (deer season), the scout master thought it better to take the roads most of the way. Roads will tear you up. I don't remember how far we hiked, but it lasted from first light until dark, and by the end I was dragging way behind with my feet absolutely killing me. (A problem I had even in the Army, years later.) :stretch: Thus the caption for the Glenbeulah to Greenbush segment of the hike: "Boy Scout Death March".

    It may sometimes take a while, but I don't like leaving unfinished business, so today I finished it. : rambo :

    Though there is not a lot of elevation in Wisconsin, I quickly found out the trail planners were not big on following contours: They go up and over every hill. :oplz: (Granted, small ones, but it adds up, as my AEG shows.)

    It was overcast, and despite being low 60s, quite chilly. All the greenery was soothing, but I'd *love* to do the hike in September: The colors would be spectacular! :FG:

    The overcast played hell with lighting for my camera, particularly affecting the focus. :|

    The trail crossed a number of small country lanes, and two highways. Other than WI-23, I only saw one car. WI-23, though, was very busy, and there was no tunnel or crosswalk. But I am Phoenix-hardened, : rambo : and so made it across okay.

    I was really stoked to find an old-fashioned well hand-pump, but then bummed that it seemed not to work. :|

    Parnell Tower reminded me of rapelling towers in the Army. Nice views, but again affected by the overcast. Otherwise I would have been able to see Holy Hill, where I spent a sub-0 night in late 1973 vainly searching the sky for Comet Kohoutek. I could, however, clearly see the state prison. :lol:

    Hike Video: ... xhWg

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Milwaukee or Green Bay, exit west on WI-23. In 15.0 miles, turn south on County A, which soon becomes County T. In 1.3 miles, split left onto Kettle Moraine Scenic Dr. In 1.2 miles, the Greenbush Campground will be on the west side of the road.
    page created by kingsnake on Jun 10 2015 3:58 pm
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