Pigeon River Country State Forest: Shingle Mill Pathway
One of the most popular campgrounds in Pigeon River Country State Forest is Pigeon Bridge. Located in the heart of this 105,049-acre tract, the campground has 10 rustic sites overlooking the Pigeon River, making it a favorite with trout fishers, who toss flies, spinners, and worms in an effort to entice brookies and browns.
But the campground is also frequented by hikers as it serves as the trailhead for the Shingle Mill Pathway, a system of five loops that passes through some of the most scenic portions of the Pigeon River Country. Even better, the longest loops (10 and 11 miles) can be covered in 6 to 7 hours by most hikers, making them ideal for an overnight trek.
The hike described here is the 10-Mile Loop, the most scenic portion of the Shingle Mill Pathway, in my opinion, which allows you to spend a night at the dispersed campsites on the north and south shore of Green Lake. The lengths of the first three loops—.75, 1.25, and 6 miles—make them better suited as day-hikes while the second backcountry campsite is along the 11-Mile Loop. You can also pick up the trail at several other places in the state forest, including the Pigeon River Campground, which would turn the northern half of the pathway into 6-mile day-hikes.
From spring through fall hikers share the pathway with mountain bikers. On November 15 deer hunters arrive for the 2-week firearm season, and in the winter Shingle Mill Pathway is a popular destination for cross-country skiers looking for a wilderness-like adventure. The trails are not groomed or tracked but experience enough use that skier-set tracks are usually visible.
|Difficulty - Challenging|
|Difficulty - Easy|
|Difficulty - Moderate|