|Dells of the Eau Claire River, seen from Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail|
Wisconsin’s Fifty Trail Segment highlights its state trail, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. The route begins at the Michigan border by crossing a rail trail bridge connecting Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail with Wisconsin’s Corridor 17 Trail, a multi-use trail that follows a railroad grade south to Mercer where the trail joins the 7.2 mile Mercer Bike Trail then dips into the woods for three miles on foot-trail along the Manitowish River via the North Lakeland Discovery Center’s Big River Trail
From the Discovery Center the Fifty Trail crosses the street to join the 45-mile Heart of Vilas Trail, a continuous paved non-motorized bike route eastward across much of Vilas County. From Eagle River the route turns south again following the privately funded Three Eagle Trail and then US 45 from Three Lakes to Summit Lake with road walking and an 8 mile hike on gated roads in the hiker- and eco-friendly Heartwood Forestland VI property of The Forestland Group LLC.
Just south of Summit Lake the Fifty Trail joins the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and follows it generally south to Hatley, east of Wausau. Here the Fifty Trail bridges from the west arm of the Ice Age Trail to the East arm at Mishicot by following several long rail trail segments. First is the state's longest, the Mountain-Bay State Trail which is continuous from Wausau to Green Bay, then the Fox River State Trail south out of Green Bay, and finally a segment of the Devil’s River State Trail.
Resuming the Ice Age Trail at Michicot the hike route reaches the shores of Lake Michigan and then delves southwestward through Kettle Moraine State Forests North and South Units and on to Janesville then west to Monticello.
At Monticello the Fifty Trail leaves the Ice Age Trail and follows the Badger State Trail, another rails-to-trails conversion that runs continuously south to the Illinois border.
MAPS and TRAIL GUIDES:
Three Eagle Trail: https://www.3eagletrail.com/
North Lakeland Discovery Center foot trails: https://discoverycenter.net/trails-activities/
Heart of Vilas County paved bike trail: https://biketheheart.org/
Mountain Bay State Trail (83-mile rails to trails route from Wausau to Green Bay): https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/mountainbay/
Ice Age Trail, excellent maps and guidebook: https://www.iceagetrail.org/trail-maps-guidebooks/
HEART OF THE TRAIL:
Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit from John Muir Overlook (Ice Age Trail Alliance’s Hartland Marsh Trailhead, Hartland Segment) to south end of the Whitewater Lake Segment at Clover Valley Road (about 52 miles).