Lake La Grange

Palmyra, Wisconsin 53156

Lake La Grange

Lake La Grange Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Check out an historic pioneer cabin and the remains of a lime kiln before following the southern half of the Blackhawk Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. This quiet footpath skirts some wetlands before climbing a ridge through mature hardwood forest.Your turnaround point is a peaceful lake and marsh rich in wildlife.

When you step out of your car at the Oleson Cabin, the quiet ambiance of this hike begins. You won’t find any of the crowds here that are at some southern Kettle Moraine trailheads. A restored two-story log cabin is 100 yards east of the road. Ole Oleson, a Norwegian immigrant, built this home for his family out of Tamarack logs hauled from the nearby Scuppernong Marsh in 1846. Follow the path past the cabin and look for the blue-blazed Ice Age Trail spur marked with a post."

Lake La Grange Trip Reports

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A moderately challenging trail with alot of little hills. One of the least scenic sections of the Ice Age Trail, until you get to Lake La Grange. A long trek through boring woods. I did see plentiful wildlife: deer, turkey, turtle. It is a well maintained trail. I have hiked all over WI and this trail is not top ten in WI. It is a good challege and located near lots of other hiking. The Oleson cabin is a nice relic to see. Stay outside.
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This was a great hike. We started at the olson home and hiked to Lake La Grange and back. It was a great explore of mushrooms (wow plenty of interesting varities). The trail was very clean (thank you fellow hikers and care takers of the trail). The hike was a good rise and fall rate and trail had plenty of scenic changes along the way. The Lake is a great place to rest and eat lunch. The trail is well marked. We will back again. It was about 2 hours out and 2 hours back.

Bryan and Maggi
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This is a pleasant day hike. The entire trail with a slight exception at the trail head and near the end at Lake Lagrange, meanders through fairly dense deciduous forest. There is a beautiful prairie section near the lake. The out and back routing of this trail limits the amount of new scenery you experience. But, the rolling Kettle Moraine terrain provides beauty and a variety of flora and fauna with moderate physical challenges. Consider taking advantage of the near by horse / snowmobile trails to mix things up on the way back from the lake. If you have a second vehicle there are several options for you to turn this into a through hike.

Wisconsin weather can vary a lot. Summer days can be hot and humid. The walk through this part of the Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit can feel a bit "close". Mosquitos and flies can be annoying. Bring bug repellent in the summer months.

The forest is beautiful at all times of year but fall and early spring are the very best. Fall colors are stunning and the new growth of spring is revitalizing to anyone who walks this trail. There is no water at the trail head or along the way so come prepared. There is ample road side parking at the Olsen cabin trail head but be respectful of the few local residents. Please practice leave no trace. The Olsen Cabin has a small sign which provides interesting facts about the early settlement of the area. The cabin itself is only open to the public on special occasions. In the fall you share the forest trail with a variety of outdoor enthusiasts. The trail is part of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and as such is very popular. There are plenty of recreational opportunities in the State Forest and plenty of organized hiking and trail events.

This is a nice trail for a day hike if you are in the area. But it certainly does not compare to the wilderness experience of our national parks or nation's most popular scenic areas.
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I don't think the reviewer "Mark" was on the right trail. The Lake La Grange portion of the Ice Age Trail is little-used and there are no buildings to see. The bike trails are to the east of the Lake LaGrange trail. I found the forest to be so thick on a somewhat stormy day that I felt this huge sense of relief to break out of the forest and onto a meadow-topped hill with the most gorgeous views. Lake La Grange is a shallow, marshy, undeveloped body of water left to the wildlife. This is a great hike.
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The Ice Age Trail rocks!!!!

Great bird watching.
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I found this trail to offer a pleasant stroll along terrain that though uneven, presented ease to accomplish. The course offers two distinct paths: one reserved for hikers, and the other for our mountain biking cousins.

This trail isn't a wilderness experience. You will occasionally hear road traffic, and you'll see an occasional building.

The park does offer one campsite, which I think of value if you choose to follow the Ice Age trail. For the route suggested here there is strictly a day hike. Enjoy it as such.

You will likely encounter other people on the trail throughout the day. The local hikers told me the northeastern sections of the Ice Age trail are more scenic. I think this hike would be at its best during the spring or fall. It's an easy drive from the Chicago area. I did while on business in Chicago.


Lake La Grange Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
4 hours
April - October
Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit, S91 W39091 Highway 59, Eagle, 53119; (262) 594-6200; http://dnr Ice Age Trail Alliance, 2110 Main St., Cross Plains, 53528; (800) 227-0046; www
Local Contacts
USGS Whitewater, Little Prairie; Ice Age Trail Foundation segment map #18
Local Maps

Trail Log