Devils Lake State Park
Trail Map: OfficialDevilsLakeMap1
Devils Lake State Park is a gem in southern Wisconsin. It offers plenty of hiking trails, although most people will stay on the loop that follows around the beautiful lake. The lake is surrounded by large rocky bluffs and the trail takes you high above the lake on top of these bluffs. Be warned that this is an extremely popular destination in the summer months. Unless hiking early, expect to be surrounded by hundreds of others. We decided to go on a late September day and camped overnight. During sunrise we started hiking the west bluff and found ourselves alone for the majority of the hike.
Some facts about this park, it is the largest state park in Wisconsin covering 9,217 acres. The 500 foot bluffs that surround the lake are composed of quartzite and created by debris deposited from a glacier.
One of the interesting things about this hike is that part of it is shared with the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. If you don’t already know, the Ice Age Trail is part of the National Trails System. The Ice Age Trail is a 1200 mile trail that starts in Potawatomi State Park in northeastern Wisconsin and extends all the way to Interstate State Park in Northwestern Wisconsin.
If you are looking to get away from the crowds in the summer or are just looking for longer trails, there are plenty of choices that will take you away from the lake. Many of these will take you into open meadows or marshes or into covered woods. The scenery will not be spectacular but you will find an easy relaxing hike.
Overall this was a great place to explore in the early hours of a fall day. It is fascinating seeing large rock bluffs in the midwest where most hiking adventures are flat and uneventful. I would absolutely visit this park again but would be weary to go on a Summer day. Large crowds at the park will easily drain any peaceful relaxation one was hoping to find.