Badger Prairie County Park in Verona, Wis., is a good place to hop aboard the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
The federally designated trail is marked by yellow blazes on brown posts as it winds through a restored prairie. It runs north next to soccer fields and through what's known as Ice Age Junction, a permanent open space that connects to nearby Madison.
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is not well known. It offers solitude and glacial geology. Its southern border generally follows the southernmost extent of the glaciers that covered Wisconsin 10,000 years ago.
The trail is a work in progress -- with about 675 miles built, linked by back roads. You can use a GPS unit to identify geological features on the trail.
More than 50 years ago, volunteers began creating an S-shaped footpath through Wisconsin forests and prairies. Its western terminus is in Interstate State Park near the Minnesota-Wisconsin border just outside of St. Croix Falls, Wis. The eastern terminus is near Green Bay on the Door County Peninsula in Potawatomi State Park.
It is primarily a hiking and backpacking trail. Snowmobiling and bicycling are allowed in a few areas that share the route with state rail trails. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are also allowed on some sections. A warning: Hunting is permitted along the trail, so hikers are encouraged to wear orange in hunting seasons.
The National Park Service partners with the Wisconsin DNR and the grass-roots Ice Age Trail Alliance on planning and upkeep. It is expected to be complete in 30 to 50 years, said Mike Wollmer, executive director of the alliance.