Friday, November 9, 2018

Hiking the Devil's Staircase Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Janesville, Wisconsin

Exploring the Devil's Staircase Segment of Wisconsin's Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Janesville, Wisconsin

Devil's Staircase in Janesville, Wisconsin Allows Hikers to Enjoy a Unique Glacial Landscape:

**Disclosure: Thank you to Janesville CVB for hosting my family's visit to Janesville.

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a 1,200 mile trail through Wisconsin highlighting the glacial ice sculpted landscape throughout the state. The retreating glacier left unique landscape features that we can enjoy today through a variety of unconnected hikes. One of these hikes, Devil's Staircase, can be found along the Rock River in Janesville, Wisconsin.


The segments of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Wisconsin are specially marked.
The segments of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail are specially marked.
The head of the Devil's Staircase trail is located inside of Riverside Park which is a gem in of itself with plenty of space to enjoy along the Rock River. The park features all sorts of outdoor fun including horseshoe pits, disc golf, boat landings, a bike trail, playgrounds, a golf course and more. During our visit, we were there to hike. So, to Devil's Staircase we went! The trails of the Ice Age Trail are marked with designations and yellow blazes. When you find one of these markers, you know you are off on an interesting hike.

Hiking at Devil's Staircase:

Stairs up to the Devil's Staircase Trail in Janesville, Wisconsin.
Stairs up to the Devil's Staircase Trail.
The Devil's Staircase trail hugs along the bluffs overlooking the Rock River. You do have to take a staircase up to the trail. Some of the stairs have been a bit worn, so watch out for that. However, the real staircase is above where the terrain will take you up and down. I have to say, walking along the sides of the bluffs provided an incredible experience and great photo moments.

Admiring the Picturesque Glacial Landscape:

Moss adding to the beauty of rock formations at Devil's Staircase in Janesville, Wisconsin.
Moss adding to the beauty of rock formations.

We savored a beautiful morning hike in the fall with rock formations on one side of us and the river on the other. Remnants of fall colors still exhibited a brilliant hue from trees that hadn't yet lost their leaves.

Warm hues of autumn within the forest atop the bluff at Devil's Staircase and the Rock River below.
Warm hues of autumn within the forest atop the bluff at Devil's Staircase and the Rock River below.
The trail rolls up and down along the edge of the rock formations. Some spots on the trail do not have much space before a rolling drop off. You can see a bit of the rolling here:

The rolling nature of Devil's Staircase can prove a little challenge.
The rolling nature of Devil's Staircase can prove a little challenge.
The rock formations at Devil's Staircase add to the scenery at every turn:


We enjoyed stopping for a moment here and there just to savor the unique beauty of Devil's Staircase.

Plenty of moments for lovely and unique photos in nature at Devil's Staircase in Janesville, Wisconsin
How can you not be in love with the landscape?

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail generally follows the edge of the last glaciation over Wisconsin. Throughout, you will see formations carved out by the glacier and boulders, gravel and more left as the glaciers receded. Glacier sculpting observed along the trail happened between 10,000 and 25,000 years ago. Wow!



We LOVED our experience exploring the Ice Age Trail at Devil's Staircase. We marveled at the unique landscape and formations while enjoying a bit of a hiking challenge. We would like to hike the trail again in the later spring or in the summer to enjoy wildflowers at the unique landscape!

To know:
  • The trail is not in a loop. Rather, it goes point to point. When you reach the end, you can turn around to come back.
  • We did find it slippery in spots. In hindsight, I do think we would have liked our hiking sticks.
  • I recommend wearing hiking boots for uneven terrain.
  • The trail is about 1.50 miles. So, if you go to the end and back you are looking at 3 miles.
  • There are restrooms at Riverside Park and I recommend hitting one before the trail.
  • Pack light but bring water and a snack.
  • Leave a picnic lunch in the car. You will love the view of the Rock River at Riverside Park and will no doubt be tempted to enjoy the views while enjoying a picnic.
  • The segments of the Ice Age Trail are not all connected at this time. The Ice Age Trail Alliance has detailed information on routes.
Hiking the Devil's Staircase Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Janesville, Wisconsin

No comments:

Post a Comment