Explore the best trails in Wisconsin with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
dogs on leash
cross country skiing
Little trailhead nestled in-between two houses. But the steep climb up forested hill soon makes one forget how close the trail is to housing development. Soon arrive at a bench overlooking Cross Plains town. The trail then meanders through thick woods and open prairies with big sky. The northwest portion of the trail goes through some great examples of driftless terrain (unglaciated hills) with deep gullies. Complete the final portion of the loop by walking on local streets. There is no sidewalk, but also little traffic.
Jontius P. on Emma Carlin Hiking Trail
Great trail. Muddy but good. Kudos to the bikers that ride this. Pay for parking system is a joke though. Take a pen/pencil and paper money as envelopes with coins in won't fit through the slot.
Start at the Merrimac ferry south shore parking lot (1). The trail head is marked by yellow blazes. After a brief segment between rail tracks and the road, the trail crosses the road and start climbing in ernest. Filtered view of Lake Wisconsin through trees. A winding trail through woods leads to Slack Rd parking lot (2). From here one has to do some road hiking on Slack Rd and County V to Gibraltar Rock park; fortunately the traffic is light. Once at Gibraltar Rock park lot (3), it's a longish hike to the cliffs with sweeping views of the rolling hills to the south. Continue the trail to the west parking lot (4). That's 4.6 miles one way. Backtrack.
It was a nicely maintained trail. There is good elevation change for an 'easy' rated trail. The fact that it was a loop is a big plus.
The only downside to the location is that there is no parking lot. It is a quiet road that you need to park on, so not a deal breaker.
If you haven't hiked this yet, you will not be disappointed. This is one of those trails that should be on your bucket list. Devil's Lake is the epitome of how beautiful wisconsin can be. This is a two hour drive for me to get to, but I give it a visit every year.