Discover the breath taking Quartz Hill Trail located on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Laona, Wis. 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 Wisconsin 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 a 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. Most fire towers on the Nicolet were erected in the 1930's and have since been discontinued as aerial surveillance took over.
The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest covers more than 1.5 million acres of Wisconsin's Northwoods. Highlighted by its unique forest landscapes and abundant wetlands, the Chequamegon-Nicolet is a hiker's paradise.
Amenities: There is interpretive signage available at the site. There are no picnic tables, campsites or restroom facilities.
Operating Hours: The trail is open to use 24 hours/365 days.
Fees: There are no fees associated with the use of this site.
Think safety: 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.
Accessibility: Please note that this trail’s difficulty ranges from intermediate to difficult. The trail tread is somewhat rocky and uneven. You will see several short, moderately steep, sections which may have loose rock resulting in poor footing. Boardwalks are constructed over drainages while the rest of the tread is generally dry.
The closest town is Carter.
The Information Center is located at Lakewood - Laona District
Along your adventure, you may encounter the term "rock hounding." It means that there is no need for digging tools when collecting surface rock samples.
Rock hammers or geo-picks are allowed for use to break off small hand samples from larger rock outcrops or surface boulders.
GPS: DMS: 88 37 42W 45 22 29N; DD: -88.628 45.375