During your hikes on the Ice Age Trail you may have noticed rectangular markings on trees and signposts. These marks are called “blazes” and they may be yellow, blue, or white. But what do those colors signify?
Yellow blazes are used to indicate that you are on the main route of the Ice Age Trail. Volunteers who paint the blazes try to make sure that the blazes appear often enough to provide the hiker with assurance that they’re on the trail while being careful not to “over-blaze” and diminish the natural feel of the environment.
Blue blazes mark what is called a “spur trail,” which refers to a trail that takes the hiker off the main trail and to a point of interest. After visiting the point of interest you then back-track to reconnect with the main, yellow-blazed trail. An example of this is found on the Fern Glen Segment on Hwy J where a spur trail takes you to Susie’s Rock. (More about Susie’s Rock in another post.) Another spur trail leads from the Twin Pines parking lot on Riddle Road to the Lodi Marsh Segment.
White blazes denote a “loop trail,” a trail that leaves the main, yellow-blazed trail and meanders around to bring you back to the main trail without having to re-trace your steps. One example of a loop trail starts at the Slack Road parking lot and connects to the Gibraltar Rock Segment of the trail at the big bench overlooking the Wisconsin River. Another loop trail can be found on the Steenbock Preserve. These loop trails provide an alternative hiking experience.
So, now you’re an expert on trail blazes and can impress your friends with your knowledge the next time you take a hike….Along the Ice Age Trail.