Wilkie Gorge of the Cross Plains National Scientific ReserVE

Where the glacier started to recede 

Description of Wilkie Gorge National Scientific Reserve:

Where the Glacier Stopped its Progress South

The area represents a world-renowned example of the interface of glaciated and unglaciated terrain.  The relationship between Johnstown Moraine and glaciated landscapes on one side of the Moraine and unglaciated bedrock landscapes on the other side is strikingly exhibited.  Oak savanna, oak forests, wetlands and prairies cover the area.           

The Ice Age Complex at Cross Plains is a compilation of federal, state and county land near the village of Cross Plains, Wisconsin. Currently there is about 750 acres of public land available for recreation. The entire proposed project boundary encompasses about 1,500 acres. The complex is open year-round from sunrise to sunset daily. 

Points of interest:

      • The main attraction is to discover a “world-renowned example of the interface of glaciated and unglaciated terrain.”
  • The Ice Age Complex at Cross Plains is a compilation of federal, state and county land near the village of Cross Plains, Wisconsin. Currently there is about 750 acres of public land available for recreation. The entire proposed project boundary encompasses about 1,500 acres. The complex is open year-round from sunrise to sunset daily. The properties are closed to visitors after dark.

  

The Walk

There are two distinct walks.  Starting at the trail head there is a newly built path with bridges leading to a choice of an open walk over farm land or cross the road to the north to begin a walk around a 10 year old praire and along side a gorge cut by glacial runoff.  The line of the road is the terminal location of the Wisconsin Glacier in Dane County.


Length of Walk

We will aim at about 2.5 miles but the exact routes will be determined by participants as we go. 


Optional Extension


For the hearty who are shod in hiking boots there is the option of a steep climb down and up the gorge.

Trail Conditions Accessibility 

Slightly Hillly. The unmarked trails are of easy/moderate to moderate difficulty but totally unsuited for the use of walkers. A walking stick might be helpful in some areas.




Driving and Parking Information

  • Go west on University Avenue towards Middleton. 
  • Continue on Hwy. 14 approximately 4.5 miles past the underpass with the Beltline Highway to a left turn on Cleveland Road.   
  • Stay on it .9 mile to where it deadends. 
  • Turn right onto Old Sauk Pass Rd. and continue .7 mile.
  • Park along the road near a metal gate across from the first farmhouse on the left side of the road. 
  •  Please don’t block the driveway of the old stone farmhouse.
  • Note: There are no public restrooms or drinking water facilities so be prepared.

 


Comments or questions about the walks?

This self-guided walk was developed from a list of successful docent-led walks Carla and I and other faithful volunteers have conducted over the last four years.  I will be adding more to the list as the pandemic continues to keep us isolated.  Building these self-guided walk is very much a "work in progress".  If you have ideas for improving communications about the walks or additional information I could provide, please let me know.

If you have a favorite walk please drop a note and I'll get back to you shortly.  Please mark the subject line of the email "PLATO Walks" so that I can get to them quickly.

Mike DiIorio at mdiiorio1234@gmail.com or text me at 608 520 4448.

I hope you enjoy the walks. Stay healthy, stay safe.





PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in association with:

For more information about PLATO, contact:

Christine Bartlett
UW-Madison Continuing Studies
21 N. Park St, 7th Floor, Madison, WI 53715
Email: info@platomadison.org
Phone: 608-262-5823
Fax: 608-265-4555

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