Ice Age Trail Holy Hill Segment 5.9.21

Ice Age Trail: Holy Hill Segment

How about a Mother’s Day hike? Yes, please! 


Holy Hill is one of the segments on the IAT that we typically hike every fall. Many memories hit me each time we come. Eating lunch at the picnic tables, my son getting a mushroom bigger than his head, and watching the kids run to the hilltops of the side trails. So, it seemed fitting to go on Mother’s Day. I was immediately greeted by Mayapples, bright green plants with huge leaves, reminding me of an umbrella. Clustered together, they seem like such happy little plants. 


Rays of Light

The trail is in a forest, yet we had plenty of sunshine since the leaves aren’t filled in. We came across a little stream and tiny yellow flowers greeted us. I’m so intrigued by these flowers living in the water. 

Going Up?

We meandered past a beautiful pond pausing to take in the view. Then started the hills, they do call it Holy Hill for a reason!  We took a side trail up a kame…up, up, up we went and were rewarded at the top with a great view of the Holy Hill Basilica. There was also a super cool teepee made of branches. It’s a must-do for all kids! For more info on kames check out Kame: Ice Age definition.

Spring Has Truly Arrived

I saw one, then another, then another…trillium! I had been waiting and hoping I would see them on this hike. They are such beautiful, delicate flowers. I just saw one at a time, along the path. They only bloom for a short time and aren’t even on every segment, so I was really happy I saw a few!

Which of these don’t belong?

Up and down we went and realized a huge portion of the trail had been cleared. This gave way to some beautiful Basilica sightings. I’m not sure of the reason in this case, but they do cut down the sick and dying trees and many times it’s to bring back trees and plants that are native to the area. See the field of beautiful white flowers? A year ago, I thought “How spectacular”! But since then I’ve learned these are an invasive species called Garlic Mustard. YIKES! They take over the soil and nutrients from other plants that are native. Play Clean Go provides info on how to STOP the spread of invasive species. 

The Way Back

This was a shorter hike, but the hills pack a punch! The way back still seemed to go by quickly. Back at the parking lot, I walked up to the base of the Stations of the Cross. Even if you aren’t Catholic, it’s a beautiful stone archway to admire as well as a unique setting. It’s a peaceful spot to pause and be thankful for the day. 

And that, my friends, is today’s Tail from the Trail. 



Hike Details

Trail: Mix of dirt and rock

Trail type: Out and Back (2 miles each way to the Donegal Road and then back) 

Parking: no sticker required in the lot at the end of Station Way


As you drive in the trailhead will be on your left (east), continue on to park in a small gravel lot (room for 2-3 vehicles) or park off to the side of the gravel road that turns to the left. You will see the arch to the Stations of the Cross as you drive in. Look for the Holy Hill segment sign to start and head southeast. 

There is a large grassy area with picnic tables as well. 

Bathroom facilities: Yes, in the parking lot. The toilet does flush, but there is not a sink to wash hands, so bring the hand sanitizer!

Dog Friendly: Yes, must be leashed at all times. BYOB Bring Your Own (Poop) Bag! I did not see any bag dispensers. Please carry out your dog’s poop.

Holy Hill Hiking Memories

2 Comments on “Ice Age Trail Holy Hill Segment 5.9.21

  1. I agree … lots of great memories whenever hiking Holy Hill. And, for whatever reason, it had been a while since I last visited. Something very special about this place. As Ellen recommended, if you go, take the time to also visit the Basilica itself – absolutely stunning and peaceful.

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