The Hills Are Not Towering
The Parnell Tower parking lot is supposed to open at 6:00 a.m. When I was there, on a Thursday at 7:00 a.m., it was still closed. There's a parking fee, but I forget exactly what it was. Follow the link under Permits/Fees for current rates.
The hike starts by heading up the stairs towards Parnell Tower, but it is easier walking to the side of the the too short, too wide, stairs. Split left at the first bench. A little over a half mile, turn south onto the Ice Age Trail. A quarter mile later, cross County U. (The road which accesses the Parnell Tower parking lot.)
The next three miles to County V, seem to travel along a narrow finger of land, which is 20-50 above the frequent wet lands and ponds which dot the mostly dark forest. There are very few flowers in the forest, but many interesting molds and mushrooms, and more mosquitoes than you can shake a can of Off! at.
South of County V, the trail breaks out into the open, as it turns west along the north shore / wet lands of Butler Lake. Suddenly, there were no mosquitoes, but tons of flowers, especially the large cluster of tiny white flowers, which was by far the most frequent flower we saw, and which grows in dense patches along Wisconsin’s highways and country roads. Maybe 5% of those white flowers were immature, with such specimens all green, and protected by a “cage” of firm stems.
After about 4.5 miles, the segment ends at the Butler Lake TH. The trailhead has a hand pump well, which trickles water, and a number of nature signs. The trailhead also serves as the terminus of the 3.1 mile Butler Lake Loop Trail, if you are looking for some extra mileage. The trailhead has no toilet, but what do you need a toilet for when you have woods?
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.
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.