Hiking and Cross-Country Ski Trails
The Rudorf Farm is a 98-acre property where you can see Big Cedar Lake to the east. This property is comprised mainly of open farm fields surrounded by wooded edges. Dornacker Prairie Acres LLC farms 55 acres of the Rudorf Farm. When a farmer integrates no-till practices on a property, there is an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions, prevent soil erosion, and rebuild soil health.
The Rudorf Farm includes 3.5 miles of hiking and X-country ski trails. The terrain is sloped toward Big Cedar Lake, and the trails follow the perimeter of a 60+ year old pine plantations with a few spots of native woods remaining. The X-country ski trails are not maintained to the level of the CLCF Nordic trails at the Fox Hill Nature Preserve, but at Rudorf you can ski with your dog! As you walk along the trails at the Rudorf Farm, you will encounter the beauty of the remaining mature oaks and maples. In autumn, the fresh mornings are a perfect time to venture onto the property as the leaves begin to change.
Sig Rudorf and his wife Sparky purchased the land in 1962. They wanted to stop the possible sale to a mining company who planned to develop it into a gravel pit. Sig was a Vice President of Manufacturing and Engineering at A.O. Smith Corporation, and he recognized that mining the hillside would result in a permanent scar on the eastern crest of the continental divide. Had that happened, the long esker that forms a natural protective frame for the watershed of Big Cedar Lake would have been forever altered.
From the first days of his purchase, Sig and his family worked tirelessly to restore the land, planting over 40,000 trees and making inviting trails. The Rudorfs knew that conserving their special farm was the best form of permanent protection for the watershed. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, they gifted two land parcels to the Cedar Lakes Conservation Foundation (CLCF). In 2000, CLCF purchased an additional 80 acres with donations from the community.
Parking is available in the parking lot at 5036 Division Road, West Bend, WI 53095.
Walking the trails at the Rudorf Farm reminds one of what it was like in the area back in the 1960s. CLCF continues to work on caring for the Rudorf Farm, continuing the legacy of Sig and Sparky.
As you hike on the trails, keep an ear open for the vocals of neotropical migratory birds when they arrive in the spring. We can’t wait to see you on the trails!
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