Chipera Prairie is tucked away 4.5 miles south of Fort Atkinson off Highway 29. It is exactly 4.5 miles, as I took a little road trip and tracked it on my vehicle’s odometer. As I took a right onto 128th Avenue and then abruptly onto the field road, I was a little surprised at the ruggedness of the terrain. Make sure you take this road slow and easy as the maintenance is very minimal and it is partially grass-covered. I enjoyed the view of corn fields out one side of the Camry’s window and eventually soybeans out the other side. As it was my first trip, I didn’t realize that it’s adjacent to farmland, sort of carved out in the middle of it, really. I imagined how picturesque the drive might be when harvest time comes and the farmers are out seeing what bounty their sweat (and a little grace from nature) has produced. I also spotted a duck and her three ducklings out the window, scurrying to safer ground. You never know the wonders you might alight upon when you take a drive or walk out in the country.
When I arrived at the prairie entrance, I was happy to discover a grassy trail creating a way to access the beauty of the prairie. (Be sure to heed the sign indicating no seed gathering.) As I traded four wheels for two feet, I noted that the trail was accessible and well-maintained. I thought about what a lovely spot it might be for a walk at dawn when the world is just waking up. You could perhaps hear the sounds of the prairie mingle with a nearby rooster on an adjacent farm. The prairie does encompass 90-acres, so you'll surely have a great expanse to breathe some fresh air and perhaps bring out the tripod and camera to capture some wonderful images. Pheasants and cottontail rabbits are also abundant, so they might just make it into the width of your lens for a memorable shot.
If you are looking for a place to collect your thoughts and absorb a little natural wonder, then you might want to make a visit to Chipera Prairie. With its proximity to Fort Atkinson, perhaps a stop at The Fort for a little lunch or supper might be in order to celebrate an enjoyable hike. As long as you are near Fort Atkinson, why not make a day of it? You might want to visit soon while the magic of summer is still in full bloom.