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Hiking “Gems in the Rough” in Northeastern Wisconsin

Northeast Wisconsin Hiking Gems in the Rough

We’re calling these two autumn hikes “gems in the rough.” Sturdy hiking boots are advised, and watch your step.

Quartz Hill Trail

Highway 32 South, Laona

Discover the breathtaking Quartz Hill Trail located on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Laona. This stunning trail cascades into two sections. One portion is located on the east and the other portion is located on the west side of State Highway 32. The east section leads across a boardwalk to the top of McCaslin Mountain. It has moderately steep sections, but the view from the top of this quartz rock outcrop is worth the climb. The prettiest time to explore the trail is in fall when the brilliant fall colors will be visible on the surrounding hills from the overlook.

As you take the pleasant walk through the northern hardwood forest, you will pass a quartz crystal deposit with an informational sign, which describes how early Native Americans came here to quarry quartz to create their tools. The west portion of this trail leads to the site of the Carter Fire Lookout Tower. Once used to spot forest fires, all that now remains are four concrete pilings.

Use caution going to the trailhead. It is located on the opposite side of State Highway 32. This is the most popular segment of the trail and crossing the highway is necessary to access the trail.  Also, be mindful that the trail on the east side of the highway is heavily used All-Terrain Vehicles.

Butler Rock

Butler Rock Lookout Lane, Mountain

A hiking trail was developed in the Town of Brazeau to reach the county’s highest point called Butler Rock.  This two-mile sand trek is not for the faint-hearted, but the views are spectacular, especially during the fall colors.

According to one on-line post, the first half of the (1/3 mile) trail is relatively flat and you gain most of the almost 200 feet of elevation at the end. Make sure to make it to the summit, which is farther than the first two overlooks. Rock outcroppings are at the top and it’s very secluded. Directions: In Mountain, turn right onto Old 64 Road/Old Hwy. 64, sharp right onto Butler Rock Road and turn left onto Butler Rock Lookout Lane.


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