After another hour driving, home for tonight is Council Grounds State Park. Thankfully this park is smaller and can be done in about an afternoon. I wasted no time setting up camp before setting out on the trails.
Big Pines Nature Trail -> Unmarked Trail -> Red Trail
Right from the campgrounds you can hop onto the Big Pines Nature Trail. Woods here are dense and foliage is thick – hard to photograph and convey any meaning for you, but take my word it’s a nice walk.
I went off the main trail via unmarked connector paths to check out the boat launch on Lake Alexander. Handicap accessible fishing piers line the banks and offered respite from the sun with full shade cover. (As always don’t forget to click any pictures for a full-screen view!)
The remainder of the unmarked trails lead back along Lake Alexander to the beach. Plenty of families out here today enjoying the perfect swimming weather.
Adjacent to the beach is a hydroelectric dam. Lots more people here fishing & portaging canoes/kayaks.
From here it was a brief walk back along the Red Trail to my campsite.
I had been on the road for about a week at this point and needed to do laundry (seriously I was becoming the stinky kid). Locals suggested I eat dinner at Dixieland BBQ which was conveniently next to a laundromat. Ribs were delicious but I only ate half so I could hit the trails for a sunset hike.
Blue / Green Trails
Back at camp with clean laundry, I quickly set back out to try and hike the remaining trails for a sunset photo shoot. Heading ESE from the campgrounds I took the Blue and Green Trails down towards the river. Trails here are somewhat hard to distinguish where you are (seriously their map could use some updating).
This area is also considered the Kruger Pines State Natural Area (Scientific Area on the map) and contains some large old growth white pines.
Trail marker signs – can you figure out where this is? I can’t. Not that you can really get lost here, but thankful my GaiaGPS mobile app works so well to save time with navigation.
At the furthest SE point there is a shelter house that can be rented out for large parties and a huge picnic area. Supposedly there are black bears that frequent this area often.
I was late for the best part of the sunset but still caught some awesome colors across the Wisconsin River. Sat here until it dropped below the horizon then looped back to camp for the night.
On the next morning I found two young whitetails behind camp foraging the brush. They seemed very comfortable around people and didn’t spook at all.
Not much video here, but here are two short clips of the deer at camp & the sunset across the river.
My first loop took me from the campground to the Big Pines Nature Trail, then to trails along the lake/river not marked on the map, around the Red Trail, then back to camp. From a physical standpoint this is extremely easy and nearly flat the whole way.
Second loop for sunset started from my campsite and headed counterclockwise around the Blue Trail and Green Trail. Most of this isn’t marked clearly on the maps so I’m not sure when I did each section. Also very flat and easy.Lat = 45.1854591 , Long = -89.7425156 -- Show at Google Maps