Ice Age Trail: Holy Hill is a 6.8 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Hartford, WI that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Follow the Ice Age trail around the scenic Holy Hill and enjoy panoramic views atop a 1,350 ft. kame. The Ice Age Trail circles the historic and scenic Holy Hill perched atop a 1,350 ft kame. Over 300,000 visitors a year come to Holy Hill to see the fully restored Basillica and enjoy the panoramic views from it's spires. This complete and detailed route covers the Holy Hill segment of the Ice Age Trail and all it's access points, trailheads, parking, connecting trails, communities, parks, preserves, and facilities. This guide contains almost 30 points of interest for the trail, viewable via your browser at home, or on the fly trailside via your mobile phone. The Ice Age Trail is a thousand-mile footpath highlighting the remnants left behind by glaciers during the last ice age over 12,000 years ago. Designated as a National Scenic Trail, the Ice Age trail follows the terminal moraine of the last glaciation throughout Wisconsin providing some of the world's best examples of glacial formations such as kettles, moraines, and drumlins.
I hiked the southern most section of this trail (out and back between Hwy 167 and Donegal Rd) the third week of October. The fall colors were great, and I loved the trail. There were a lot of ups and down, and twists and turns in the trail which made it interesting. I also did each of the 3 spurs to the tops of kames. I included some walking on the grounds of the basilica and a climb to the top of the church spire which offered a wonderful view of the surrounding country side. The Ice Age Trail was well marked and there were at least a couple of benches and some nice scenic views, especially at the tops of the kames. I hiked on a weekday and only saw one trail runner and one other couple the entire hike (though Holy Hill itself was very crowded.) I would highly recommend the southern section. I can't comment on the section north of Hwy 167 since I haven't hiked it yet.
Most people come to this site to visit the Basilica and shrine. The hiking trail is adequate but does not have any observation or rest points along the route. Signage is sufficient for a point-to-point hiking trail. The path is a natural trail which means that leaves, tree roots, and stumps scatter the pathway. Hills are small and easy. Today's fall foliage was fantastic and worth the trip in and if itself.
Not well marked in places. Not as scenic as had hoped.