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The Red Cedar State trail is part of the Wisconsin Rails to Trails system. It starts in Menomonie, Wisconsin and runs along the Red Cedar River for 14.5 miles to the junction with the Chippewa River. Most of the year it is a popular bike and hiking trail but in the winter it becomes a cross country ski trail. The trail is groomed from Menomonie to Downsville and no hikers or snowshoers are allowed on the trail. This makes it a little more difficult for photographers who have to carry their gear and ski the trail. A trail pass is required for bikers and skiers and can be purchased at the Menomonie and Downsville trailheads.

 The Menomonie to Irvington portion of the trail closely parallels the Red Cedar River. I like to ski this portion in the winter months because it offers some great opportunities to photograph heavy morning frost along the river. The heavy frost usually occurs when we have a cold snap and little wind like we had the past week. This photo was taken on a -4 degree morning just south of the Irvington Bridge.

Ice Wall

Another popular photography point is an Ice wall that develops along the sandstone cliffs about half way between Menomonie and Irvington.  As soon as the weather starts to turn cold the Ice begins to form from water seeping out from the cliffs. After a prolonged cold spell the ice wall becomes an impressive sight. When photographed in the morning the ice is more likely to be light blue or have a milky appearance but in the afternoon shade and toward evening it turns a deep blue.

Dunnville SandstoneThe trail from Downsville to County Road Y is a multiuse section which is not groomed and allows hikers, snowshoers and skiers on the trail. I prefer starting at County Road Y and walking back towards Downsville. This section of the trail follows along the Red Cedar River and goes past the Dunville Sandstone Quarry. Since this section can be hiked it offers more opportunities for photography. I particularly like to hike this section late in the day when the late afternoon sun is shining on the beautiful Dunville Sandstone. There are also a number of ice falls on this section of the trail although they are not as spectacular as those described earlier. After the hike we like to stop at the Downsville Coffee House and Restaurant for some great food in a unique setting. 

There are many other things to photograph along the trail and you can view them on my website.


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