The Table Bluff Walk will take us to the edge of Cross Plains
The Table Bluff Segment of the Ice Age Trail is 2.5 miles long offers ridge top views and showcases the results of remarkable land stewardship efforts. There is a 1/2 mile optional loop that leads across a valley and up a second ridge.
The trail is a loop so that we will park in the lot at the trail head and return to the cars at the end of the walk.
Our guide will be a PLATO member and Dane County IATA member Tess Mulrooney.
Highlights of the Walk
Located in the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin. the Table Bluff Segment of the Ice Age Trail traverses restored prairie as well as steep, rocky slopes. The trail has approximately 200 feet of total vertical relief and several vistas from the heads of two valleys and two prominent goat prairies that offer great views of the Driftless Area.
Melt water from the Laurentide ice sheet poured through a preglacial valley depositing sand and gravel and partially filling the lower valley floors, which now hold extensive wetlands and a tributary stream of Black Earth Creek, a class 1 trout stream. The area is home to various types of wetland prairie oak opening and forest plants.
From the Trail access on Table Bluff Road, the trail heads south across a 73 acre IATA-owned property. After passing through a prairie and then an old orchard area hikers wil come to an intersection with an optional loop trail that offers a 1/2 mile "bubble" to the west of the main Ice Age Trail route. The loop trail traverses a ridge overlooking two valleys with streama and a marsh.
Trail Difficulty Ratings
Length: 2.5 miles loop walk highlights the view of two valleys from an elevation of 400 ft. There is a 1/2 mile optional loop across a narrow valley and up a second wooded bluff. There is also an optional steep climb down and return of 1/2 mile that is quite challenging.
Elevation: The main walk is rated a 3 on a scale of 1 to 5, (where 1 is a flat walk) The walk will consist of rolling hills through prairies, marsh and woods. The optional two loops are more challenging hill climbs and rated a 4 on a scale form 1 to 5.Difficulty of walk: This walk is rated a 3 on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is rated not rugged and 5 is very rugged. The paths are well maintained with good footing throughout the walk. One of the optional climbs is rated a 3.5 in that the climb is steep and footing may be difficult to maintain, depending on recent weather.
Restaurant: There are a few restaurants in Cross Plains that can handle groups of 10 people