By Dean S. Acheson
POLK COUNTY – Mirroring the mists of timeless past, the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin winds for nearly1,200 miles as it traces the boundary of the last continental glacier in Wisconsin that slowly ended about10,000 years ago.
It is one of only two National Scenic Trails contained entirely within a single state, the other being the Florida National Scenic Trail.
Polk County is home to the western terminus of the Ice Age Trail. From this point, the Ice Age Trail passes through Interstate Park, the city of St. Croix Falls and St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The St. Croix River reaches its most scenic area at the St. Croix Dalles. Both western Polk and Burnett counties are underlain by basalt. Carved into this blackish volcanic rock is the St. Croix River Valley.
To reach northern Polk County, the Ice Age Trail temporarily uses a rail-trail corridor. Near Frederic, the Ice Age Trail turns eastward, passing through the headwaters of the Trade and Straight rivers. Along the Straight River, the trail passes through one of the best examples anywhere of a tunnel channel and esker system. The flora and fauna are quite spectacular as well. Continuing east, the trail follows McKenzie and Sand creeks and passes through the Timberland Hills.
For more information regarding the Ice Age Trail stop in and the Polk County Information Center and purchase merchandise, Ice Age guide books and Ice Age atlas to help make your adventure a once in a lifetime!