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black Split Rock Loop

  4.5 ( 10 ) Favorite


11.0 mile 17.7 kilometer loop


Ascent: 1,491' 455 m
Descent: -1,486' -453 m
High: 1,086' 331 m
Low: 840' 256 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 28% (16°)


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Trail shared by John Maurizi

A long loop around Split Rock Reservoir using a section of the Four Birds Trail and the Split Rock Trail.

John Maurizi

Features Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Wildlife


A long loop hike around Split Rock Reservoir using a section of the Four Birds Trail and the Split Rock Trail. A good hike to escape crowds. Watch for Bald Eagles around the reservoir.

Need to Know

The trail can be difficult to follow. Blazes can be few and far between trees. The trail is seldom done, so the trail is not well-defined in places. A hint to find the trail, if you lose sight of the blazes, turn around and look at the trees for blazes in the opposite direction you were traveling. Trail maintenance crews place blazes on different trees depending on the direction.


This loop hike starts from the Split Rock Reservoir Boat Launch parking lot. From the lot, turn right and head down Split Rock Road and over the dam. As the road starts going uphill, watch on the right for a white blaze on a large rock. This is the Four Birds Trail.

Turn right and follow the trail up hill through this rocky section for about one mile. The trail then descends and follows the shoreline while occasionally moving inland a bit. The trail can be difficult to follow at times. After about four miles from the parking lot, you reach a trail junction with the Winnebago Trail and a very rocky section at the north end of the reservoir. The trail moves up and ascends Riley's Rise and meets up with the Split Rock Trail (blue blazes).

Turn right on the Split Rock Trail. The trail descends here to Misty Pond. The terrain is rocky as it leaves Misty Pond. It begins to ascend through glacier erratics to a viewpoint called "Indian Cliffs." The trail follows the ridge and gradually descends rocky terrain as it approaches Split Rock Reservoir. The trail can be difficult to follow at times. Be sure you can spot the next marker.

The trail exits onto Split Rock Road near a track of power lines. Turn right on Split Rock Road and follow a short distance back to the parking lot.

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Jul 6, 2019
Pradeep Thomas
Over grown and hard to follow trail - needed mobile app. thorny bushes and a lot of bugs. wildlife - White tailed deer, foxes, eagles, other birds 11mi — 4h 30m
Jun 23, 2019
Bryan Thompson
Hiked with kids and grandparents 5.8mi — 4h 45m
May 19, 2019
Anthony Testa
Jan 17, 2019
Anthony Benevento
Sep 22, 2018
Nikki D
Great trail! 11mi
Sep 3, 2018
Christopher Klingaman
Slippery rocks, wouldn't want to come during or just after a heavy storm. Missed a turn arou lnd 8.25 miles and backtracked a bit. Otherwise trail…
Jul 21, 2018
Caroline Schumacher
Varied hike, some flat, some steep, little bit of hand over hand. Amazing views! 10.8mi
Jul 18, 2018
Molly Rose

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Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 10 votes


  4.5 from 10 votes
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