A Little Time and a Keyboard: Hiking Through Splendor at Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit in Wisconsin

Monday, June 22, 2020

Hiking Through Splendor at Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit in Wisconsin

Hiking Through Splendor at Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit in Wisconsin

Hiking Through Splendor at Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit in Wisconsin

Kettle Moraine State Forest enchanted us with a dense forest and miles of hiking trails perfect for escaping the every day. Located in Wisconsin, the extensive Kettle Moraine State Forest is divided into two units -- the Northern and Southern Units. For our adventure, we embarked on one of the plethora of trails in the Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit near Eagle, Wisconsin.



Basking in the sights and sounds of  the dense forest at Kettle Moraine State Forest
Basking in the sights and sounds of the dense forest.
Since Kettle Moraine State Forest is so vast despite being divided in two units, I recommend reviewing maps ahead of time in order to determine your path. We did get a bit turned around on our journey ourselves! With so many trails within Kettle Moraine State Forest, perusing an app like AllTrails can help you better pinpoint trails for you.

A pine forest greeted us at Kettle Moraine State Forest.
A pine forest greeted us at Kettle Moraine State Forest.
For our first adventure, we headed of on one of the Emma Carlin Trails. At the head of the trails, hikers departed one way and bikers the other. This helps make sure that you see each other while on the trails as opposed to bikers coming up behind hikers. A pine forest greeted us as we began the trail. Immediately, we found ourselves on a picturesque rolling trail. Soon, the pine forest melted into a hardwood forest. The green hues and dancing sun invited us to escape for our hike.

Rocky trails provide an extra challenge at Kettle Moraine State Forest
Rocky trails provide an extra challenge.

Why is the forest called Kettle Moraine?

You may ask what is a kettle moraine? Kettles and moraines are geological terms that describe remainders of glaciation. Moraines are created by sediment deposited by a glacier. Kettles are pot-shaped depressions created by buried ice melting after the glacier lobes have receded. The moraine full of kettles or kettle moraine in Wisconsin is pretty extensive. If you look at the trail above, you can see how rocky the trails can be. While you are hiking the trails, you will easily note similar evidence of the preserve's glacial past enjoying rolling terrain and even glacial lakes or kettles.

Trails through the forest have their share of twists and turns in Kettle Morain State Forest Southern Unit.
Trails through the forest have their share of twists and turns!

The glacially sculpted landscape melded unique hiking experience. The rolling and rocky forested environs created fascinating surroundings. We truly enjoyed the magic of nature during our hike. A moss covered rock was one of my favorite finds!


A moss covered rock delighted us.
A moss covered rock delighted us.
At several points, the forest opened up to a prairie. The sweeping views of the prairies were truly breathtaking after walking through the dense forest.

The dense forest opens to a sweeping view of the prairie at Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit
The dense forest opens to a sweeping view of the prairie.

After reveling in leaves of green, the songs of birds, brilliant wildflowers, the pleasant rolls of the topography and all of the gifts of nature, we felt completely recharged. Kettle Moraine State Forest is truly a striking treasure and we look forward to exploring more trails in the future. More adventures ahead!


Tips for Emma Carlin Trails in Kettle Moraine State Forest:
  • A state parking pass is required, so order one ahead of time.
  • The Emma Carlin Trails are also biking trails, so be alert.
  • A section of the Ice Age Trail can be joined here.
  • We did appreciate having our walking sticks with us for these trails.
  • There is a nature center nearby to visit. It also has a gift shop.
  • You will want to visit for awhile, so be sure you have adequate water and snacks. Don't forget sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • We did hear shooting from the nearby shooting range but did not feel it detracted from the experience.
  • Kettle Moraine State Forest offers a full range of outdoor recreational activities including hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, snowmobiling, camping, boating and more.

Hiking Through Splendor at Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit in Wisconsin



3 comments:

  1. Our family has been loving hiking at state parks near us this summer. This looks like a great spot!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd love to spend more time in Wisconsin. My husband and I visited a couple years ago and it is such a pretty state. I'm adding this to my list for a return trip.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the opportunity to hike through beautiful areas like this!

    ReplyDelete