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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Parnell Tower to Butler Lake - 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 4.66 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,204 feet
Elevation Gain 80 feet
Accumulated Gain 417 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.05
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8  2016-08-04
Parnell Tower to Crooked Lake
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  5:39am - 5:50pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
The Hills Are Not Towering
by kingsnake

Likely In-Season!
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.

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2017-08-08 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
    Parnell Tower to Butler Lake - Ice Age Trail
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    Parnell Tower to Crooked Lake
    In my continuing quest to do at least one hike — a real hike, as opposed to the city walks I did the last two days in Plymouth — every place I visit, I did another two segments of the Ice Age Trail. While the Ice Age Trail is a National Scenic Trail, unlike the Appalachian Trail, it has many paved segments: For instance, around the west side of Road America, between Glenbeulah and Elkhart Lake. In all, 530 of 1,200 miles are paved. While I accept that city walking naturally involves pavement, when I am hiking I prefer to avoid it. Otherwise, what is the point?

    Last year I hiked south from Glenbeulah to the Greenbush Campground, and from there to the Parnell Tower. This year, I continued south from Parnell Tower to Butler Lake, then to Crooked Lake.

    The open areas along the Ice Age Trail are a welcome relief as, despite a re-application of Off!, I was getting eaten alive. The buzzing was so bad around the back of my head, I tried several times to video them. But I was not flexible enough, as I am not a Chinese gymnast. By the end of the hike, I had several dozen bites across my shoulders. Thankfully no chiggers, though, the bites of which are still itching three weeks after my hike on Oklahoma’s Bison Trail, where I picked them up. That despite the trail frequently becoming indistinct with overgrowth, weeds & grasses, in the open areas.

    I hear guns all the time in Arizona, but the shooting near Kellings Lakes really got my attention. And it seemed like it was towards the trail, not over the lake. I was concerned enough that I yelled to let them know I was there. Conveniently, south of that point, there is a small rise between the lake and the trail, so I had some cover. Thankfully, there was no more shooting.

    My patient wife was waiting for me at Crooked Lake. Without her, I would not be able to do shuttle hikes. (Where'd the flower smiley go?)

    Hike Video: [ youtube video ]

    More fungi than flowers. The fungi were spectacular.

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Milwaukee or Green Bay, On I-43, exit west on WI-28. In 6.8 miles, take a slight left onto County U. In 9.8 miles, turn left onto County A / Kettle Moraine Scenic Dr. In 0.5 miles, turn right onto Kettleview Rd. In 0.2 miles, turn right into the Parnell Tower parking lot.
    page created by kingsnake on Aug 08 2017 7:55 pm
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