Below are a few suggested hikes with approximate distances. Each section heading has generalized map showing the trail routes. Please consult the KVR Visitor Guide for more details and information. Please note that there are not bridges at the trail crossings of Warner, Weister nor Billings Creeks. Trail crossings are generally shallow and too wide to jump across. Also, there is not a bridge over the Kickapoo River at River Crossing Trail. This crossing depth varies but has a minimum of 3 ft and the current is fast and strong.
BILLINGS CREEK WOODS (map)
Billings Creek Trail (one way trail length 2 miles)
For those willing to take on a more rugged, less maintained trail, we would suggest the Billings Creek Hiking Trail. Long pants are strongly recommended, since the trail can be brushy at times. To Access the trail, turn east on Winchell Valley Rd from State Hwy 131. After crossing Bridge 8, park along south side the road. Walk east along the road and look for the trail on the left side of the road (about 500 ft from bridge). The hike begins with a short steep climb, but for most of the hike the trail more or less follows a low wooded ridge. There are two small streams in deep valleys that need to be crossed before reaching Billings creek. An overlook of the Kickapoo river is found just past the short (~500 ft) “open” segment of the trail.
At Billings creek you can hop (“leap”) across on stepping stones. A slight rise in water level will submerge some of the stones, thus making wet feet inevitable. (Note: if the creek is high and raging do not attempt to cross!). Tip: North of the creek is a fairly short segment (0.5 miles). Therefore, unless you have strong reason to cross, it is suggested at this point to have snack, soak your feet, and then return to Winchell Valley Rd, as you came.
KVR Trail Challenge segments accomplished by this hike are: 54 & 55
HIKES TO HANSON ROCK (map)
Hanson Rock from Corps Rd (8 mile round trip).
Start from Maintenance Building, off Corps Rd. Follow West Ridge Trail (Snowmobile trail) to the west. The trail begins in grass/open areas through prairie plantings, eventually entering woods. Follow the trail as it winds through woods. Trail descends into Hanson Hollow, near Campsite F. Find the horse trail (Hanson Rock Trail) once you enter a stand of red pines, on left. Follow horse trail up to the ridge top (about 500 ft elevation gain). At trail junction (#4) turn left on the “Hanson Rock Loop”, for overlook. After the loop, continue along Hanson Rock trail as it follows the ridge line, providing additional overlooks. These overlooks are on short spurs off the main trail (they can be missed if not looking for them). Continue along the trail as it descends off the ridge returning to West Ridge trail (#2). Turn right (south) on the snowmobile trail to return to the maintenance building.
KVR Trail Challenge segments accomplished by this hike are: 1, 2, 3
Hanson Rock from Potts Corner/Campsite P (6.5 mile round trip)
Start on the Multi-Use West Ridge Trail (Snowmobile trail) near Campsite P on Weister Creek Rd. Follow trail to Hanson Rock Trail (#2). Follow trail up to ridge and to overlooks. At Intersection #4, continue straight on to Hanson Rock Loop to additional overlook. Upon returning to #4, head down slope (right) to Campsite F (Hanson Hollow). Upon meeting West Ridge Trail, turn left, pass along river and continue until returning to Campsite P.
KVR Trail Challenge segments accomplished by this hike are: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 27
Hanson Rock from County P Gate (7 mile round trip).
Start at the Old 131 Gate on County Hwy P. Head south on Old 131 and find Little Canada Trail. Continue to Intersection #6. Keep towards the right direction to West Ridge trail. Follow west ridge towards right, walking along ridge line to intersection #2. Turn left on Hanson Rock Trail. Follow trail up to ridge and to the overlooks. At Intersection #4, continue straight on to Hanson Rock Loop to additional overlook. Upon returning to #4, head down slope (right) to Campsite F (Hanson Hollow) and West Ridge Trail. Upon meeting West Ridge Trail, turn left, pass along river and continue until Intersection 5, Ice Cave Trail. Follow this to intersection #6 and turn right heading down Little Canada back to Old 131.
KVR Trail Challenge segments accomplished by this hike are: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14
LITTLE CANADA - WEISTER CREEK WOODS (map)
Old 131 Trail - Little Canada - West Ridge- Ice Cave Trails (4 mile round trip)
Start at the gate at County Highway P and the Old 131 Trail. Head south on Old 131 across Bridge 15. Turn west/right on Little Canada Trail. Follow the trail up to Intersection 6. Heading to the right, continue up slope to the West Ridge Trail (snowmobile trail). Turn to the south/left and follow West Ridge Trail down slope, eventually reaching the “semi open” valley bottom. The trail becomes grass covered. Look for the Ice Cave trail on the north/left (if the West ridge trail makes a right turn you have passed the Ice Cave Trail). Follow the Ice Cave trail up slope to a wooded over-look of the Kickapoo River. The next deep narrow valley has a rock shelter at its head…look for it. Continue on the trail until you return to Intersection 6 at Little Canada trail. Continue to the right to return down Little Canada Trail to Old 131 Trail. Of course, the loop can be followed in the opposite direction.
KVR Trail Challenge segments accomplished by this hike are: 6, 10, 11, 12, 14
West Ridge Trail to Ma and Pa’s Trails, County Hwy P (3 mile round trip)
This loop includes about one mile walking along County Hwy P.
Start at Campsite P. Follow West Ridge Trail (snowmobile trail) to Ma and Pa’s Trail, on the left side of the trail. Follow through woods and a gradual descent, eventually coming to Weister Creek (completed 2 miles of the loop). Here you can either get your feet wet and cross the creek (DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS DURING HIGH WATER), or return the route you came. If crossing the creek, follow the trail on the opposite side to Campsite O, and follow County Hwy P to the left leading you to Weister Creek Rd and back to Campsite P. Of course, the route can be taken the opposite direction.
KVR Trail Challenge segments accomplished by this hike are: 27& 30
HAY VALLEY WOODS (map)
Campsite U/ Hay Valley Trail to Washout Trail (3 mile round trip)
Start at Campsite U on Hay Valley Rd. Follow the trail across the bridge over Hay Creek. The trail splits, continue straight/left. The trail makes a long ascent, though pines, then into mixed hardwoods. At the top, the trail is relatively flat for a short while, before it begins a descent. Continue…..you will come to the head of two valleys, both creating left turns. After the second valley, look for a stone foundation on the north/left side of the trail. Rumor has it, this was a “honey shack back in the day”.
Continue on the trail until you reach intersection 10. A short connecting trail leads to the to Washout/Bailout Trail, doubling as the snowmobile trail come winter. (To the right takes you to STH 131). Turn left, heading down slope. Continue following the Washout/snowmobile trail…up a short steep hill, through an small open area, up a long hill, down the other side, turn left to cross the open….until you return to Hay Valley Trail. A short walk to the north brings o back to Campsite U.
KVR Trail Challenge segments accomplished by this hike are: 51 & 52
Bailout Trail to Washout and Hay Valley Trails (4 mile round trip)
Park along State Highway 131 at a gravel field access, on the west side of the road, south of Winchell Valley Rd. Walk up the access to find the trail, leading you along the edge of an agriculture field into woods. Follow the wide trail up a gentle slope, until your reach a trail intersection. Continue following snowmobile trail, now called Washout, keeping right heading down slope. Continue following Washout/snowmobile trail…up a short steep hill, through a small open area, up a long hill, down the other side, and then turn left to cross the open….until you come to Hay Valley Trail. Here turn to the left; to the right will take you to campsite U/Hay Valley Rd.
Hay Valley trail begins a long ascent, though pines, then mixed hardwoods. At the top, the trail is relatively flat for a short while, before it begins a descent. Continue…..you will come to the head of two valleys, both creating left bends/turns. After the second valley, look for a stone foundation on the north/left side of the trail. Rumor has it; this was a “honey shack back in the day”.
Continue on the trail until you reach intersection 10. A short connecting trail leading to the left takes you to Washout/Bailout Trail. Once back to Bailout, turn right and return to STH 131.
KVR Trail Challenge segments accomplished by this hike are: 50, 51 & 52
HIKES FROM THE VISITOR CENTER (map)
Visitor Center Trails (1.5 mile round trip)
This short hike is considered to be part of the Visitor Center, so no trail pass is required. Start from KVR Visitor Center. Follow the Visitor Center Trail either from the north side of the building or from the Deck. The trail makes a loop. At the far west end, find the trail near the large pine trees that leads you down railroad tie steps, to the river bottom. Cross small foot bridge to reach the Pond trail. At the intersection turn west/left to reach Old 131 trail. A short walk to the south will bring you to Bridge 18, for a view of the Kickapoo River. Walk north on Old 131 to Campsite A (on west/left) and Harris Rd trail (on east/right). A bird blind is located at the far end of campsite A for wildlife viewing. Follow the Old Harris Rd trail back to the VC parking lot.
KVR Trail Challenge segments accomplished by this hike are: 20, 21, 22 & 23
Wintergreen Bluff Trail (1.5 mile round trip)
Find the trail head near the east of the Visitor Center, by the garage. Situated between State Highway 131 and the Kickapoo River, The trail leads through mixed hardwoods and conifer stands. Several views of the river exist along the route. The trail will descend upon a series of rock ledges, of which were cut during for the dam project. A steep climb up stone steps leads to an intersection. Follow the trail towards the right through a stand of pines and hemlocks along a narrow ridge. At the trail end is an overlook of the Kickapoo River. For the return trip, head back through the pines/hemlocks. At the intersection, one can head to the right to come out on State Highway 131 and follow the shoulder back to the Visitor Center, or, return along the trail as you came…..a much more scenic route than the highway.
KVR Trail Challenge segments accomplished by this hike are: 24
COUNTY HWY P-EAST (map)
Cut Off Rd Trail to Big Valley Trail to 9-10 Trail (5 miles)
There are several starting points for this loop, such as Big Valley Rd, or Landing 10. Here we will start at the trail head on Cut Off road….from County Hwy P turn south on Cut Off Rd, cross small bridge and look for trail on left, about 300 ft from the bridge.
The trail leads along the edge of a wetland and rock ledges, followed by a gradually climb in to hardwood forest. A small opening is at the top of the ascent, then back into the woods. Continue until you come to intersection 8, keep left through another open stretch. You come to County Hwy P. Cross the road and head right/east to Big Valley Rd. A short walk along Big Valley Rd leads across Warner Creek, and look for trail on left. Follow this trail for 2.5 miles eventually coming to STH 131. Cross Hwy 131 and head north/right a short bit and find 9-10 Trail (snowmobile trail) along the south/left side of a field. Follow this through woods until you come to Hwy 131 again, at Bridge 10. Cross the STH 131 and head east on CTH P for about 0.5 miles, until you reach Cut Off road, turn right and return to the start.
KVR Trail Challenge segments accomplished by this hike are: 42, 46, 47 & 49
Hoot Owl Trail (3 mile loop)
Park on Big Valley Rd. Follow Big Valley to County P, and cross CTY P, turn right and look for trail on left/south side of Road. Follow through an open stretch until reaching intersection 8, turn left. Follow through woods, cross a small creek, until the trail comes to Haugh Rd. Turn left and walk Haugh Rd (0.2 mile) to County P. At CTH P cross and look for trail at field edge on left. Follow this around the field edge to Warner Creek. Unless you can jump great distances, your feet will need to get wet here (alternate route below). Cross the creek and continue along the trail though fallow fields, woods and a small stream crossing. When you come to Scratch Ave, cross road to continue on the trail. Follow this segment to Big Valley Rd. Turn left at the road and find your vehicle.
KVR Trail Challenge segments accomplished by this hike are: 43, 44 & 45
**To avoid the Warner Creek crossing.... from Haugh Rd, turn left on CTH P and then turn right on Scratch Ave. Head up the hill and look for the trail on left side of the road.