Hixon Forest is 850 acres of forested land with 34 miles of trails. The recreational area is split into two main sections: Upper Hixon, which has 9 miles of biking trails, and a pump track along with a scenic 10 acre prairie to ride or hike around. During the winter snow season, approximately 8 miles of Upper Hixon trails are groomed for fun Snow Biking and hiking on packed snow. For nature lovers seeking a shorter hike, the bluff top Birch Trail has two vista overlooks from which to view the forested snow covered valley below. Lower Hixon, on the other hand, has 3.5 miles of shared-use (hike/bike) trails and 11 miles of hike or snowshoe trails. Vista trail is the only shared-use biking trail in Lower Hixon. Vista provides bikers with a convenient means to access to Upper Hixon’s shared-use biking trails. During winter snows, Lower Hixon’s forested wide hiking trails become cross-country ski trails along with ski trails through the the Forest Hills golf course. This ski trail is groomed with three separate lanes, skate track and classic track along with a hiking track. To reduce traffic congestion, skiers and hikers are asked to follow trail etiquette policies and should watch for trail loops that are converted to one-way trails during the ski season. There ski trail loops for the novice and expert skier alike and with a total of 10 kilometer across flat and hilly terrain the hardiest of skiers can ski to their hearts content.
For those needing a quick break, Hixon winter trails are a nice escape where nature lets you forget the day’s worries. if you are a nature lover, Hixon’s winter forest and geological topography provides a very unique scenic walk. Wishing a contemplative experience? Sit a top one of several scenic vistas and view the snow covered bluffs and Mississippi river valley below. It is truly a one-of-kind view that will mesmerize you and make you want to return again and again.
Hixon’s trails have an interesting legacy. The first trail was constructed in 1976 and was the result dedicated local volunteers. Today, La Crosse Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department continues to support the work of it’s evolving community volunteer groups who annually construct, groom, and maintain these trails. The Outdoor Recreation Alliance deserves special recognition for their dedicated involvement in these recent volunteer efforts.
With respect to forest management, invasive species removal, prairie restoration, and tree planting work has been performed dedicated area volunteers. Recently, a new group has organized to help coordinate this work. It is called Friends of The Blufflands. Without volunteers and organized volunteer groups like this ones, scenic Miller, Lookout and Zoerb Prairies would have been lost. These prairies and adjacent oak savannas are considered rare ecosystems, which now will be preserved for future generations enjoyment. In more recent years, the Parks, Recreation, and Forestry department has made a commitment to increased restoration efforts by rehabilitating eight bluff prairies and a few oak savannas. Come enjoy and see this scenic jewel of La Crosse.