Kettle Moraine Oak Opening features oak openings amidst an oak woodland with dry prairie remnants. Access is easy with a large parking area on CTH H. From there, the Bald Bluff hiking trail leads throughout the site and doubles as a segment of the Ice Age Trail (IAT). This is one of 7 SNA’s in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest and one of 27 through which the IAT passes. There are multiple additional access points including Dahlin Road and where the IAT intersects with Young and Tamarack Roads.
The trail from the main parking area winds up a hill leading to Bald Bluff and nice scenic views. From there, it turns back into the forest over undulating terrain before the canopy opens up and you find yourself in an oak opening. These tend to be smaller areas and are populated by prairie plants. This opening was dominated with typical early spring praire plants including puccoons, bird’s-foot violets, prairie smoke, and pussytoes with scattered oaks. The best oak opening is described as being “southeast of Blue Spring Lake” which describes a large swath of the site and it is not clear where exactly this portion is. This would be a family friendly site to explore and I may try doing that in the near future.
More of my photos (and full-res) from Kettle Moraine Oak Opening can be viewed here.
|County||Jefferson & Walworth|
|Natural Communities / Geology
||Oak Opening, Dry Prairie, Oak Woodland|
|Parking||Parking Areas (gravel)|
|Easy to Find||Yes|
|Best Seen By||Foot|
|Located Within||Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit|