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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Devil's Lake State Park, Ice Age National Scenic Trail

September 23, 2012

On a whim, M and I decided we needed to do a fall hike and settled on a 10 mile route at the very popular Devil's Lake State Park in Baraboo, WI. The excursion took us about 4 hours to hike and encompassed magnificent woods, prairie, and bluffs/cliffs, along with boardwalks, teepees, campgrounds, roads, and train tracks. Since we followed the Ice Age trail, the hike was a bit hard to follow in some areas due to it being poorly marked and will be explained in the pictures below. 

Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Devil's Lake State Park

We started on the right by Upland Trails and Hwy 113 and did the Ice Age loop.
Start of the trail from the parking lot on Hwy 113

M hiking on Uplands Trail section

Take the fork for Devil's Lake

Follow the yellow markers for the Ice Age Trail

Me and M

Uplands Trail is also a mountain bike trail so be careful. There are 4 bridges you will cross over.

There will be a T-intersection. Take a right and get onto Johnson Moraine Loop

Cross the road to get to some woods and then another clearing.

Johnson Moraine Loop

This is NOT a trail. Go left.

From the previous picture, (this is the left), go up this hill, and you will come to a paved road. 

This is the campground. There is a tent in the middle left of the picture.

Follow the road and the yellow markers to get out of the campground area. Pass by the dump and restrooms.

Continue down the road. There will be teepees on your right. Watch out for cars!

At the end of the road here, go left.

From the intersection, the road will take you down under a bridge.

From the bridge, you will come to an opening. Take a left which is a road in/out of the campground area. This was where we had gotten lost since we no longer could see any trail markers.

There is a yellow Ice Age marker on the "Do Not Enter" sign. Hike down that road. Be careful with oncoming traffic!

Going down the road.

After the road, you will have to go into the park's north shore where the headquarters is located. (Even though we brought trekking poles, we did not use them.)

Park headquarters.

Beach and lake at the north shore of Devil's Lake

West Bluff Trail, this short section was unkempt. 

West Bluff Trail

West Bluff Trail meets with a very steep but well kept trail .

Go up the stairs after the steep trail. Continue upwards on West Bluff Trail

The stairs lead you up to the top of the western bluff.

View of north shore of lake from West Bluff Trail

View of south shore of Devil's Lake from West Bluff Trail

More steps going down West Bluff Trail. 

From West Bluff Trail, walk along the road to this boat landing and continue along the beach at the south shore.

Hike the shoreline for south shore

You can walk on the shoreline or the sidewalk on south shore of Devil's Lake

From south shore, you can see the western bluff and where we had just come from on our hike.  We were on top of the gray rocks.

Boardwalk on south shore.

From the boardwalk, go left, past the concession stand. You can rent canoes here.

Follow the trail to get Balanced Rock Trail.

If you cross the railroad tracks, you are going the right way. After this, take a left and follow the rocky stairs and go up.

The rocks on the Balanced Rock Trail were slippery from a lot of traffic so be careful. 

Very bad picture of Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock Trail

Balanced Rock Trail. The rocks are cemented in place.

AND a good reason to hike early. This was around 10:30am. Families with small children, pets, and rock climbers = bottleneck. 

At the top of the eastern bluff. Take a right and follow East Bluff Trail

M and I took a side excursion to see Devil's Doorway.

Devil's Doorway, Devil's Lake State Park

Rock climbers on the side of the trail to Devil's Doorway

Up the stairs from Devil's Doorway back to Eastern Bluff Trail

Eastern Bluff Trail

View from Eastern Bluff Trail, with views of Lake Wisconsin

There will be a fork in the trail. Take a left and continue on the Eastern Bluff Trail, not the CCC trail.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail Marker

Eastern Bluff Trail, series of hills but mostly going downhill

Eastern Bluff Trail, large gravel, my feet and ankles were sore from this

Back on Upland Trails Loop, heading back to the trailhead/parking lot

Downhill hike through the woods. This is no longer part of the Ice Age Trail.

Heath and Sky Blue Asters at the end of hike. 


  1. Thank You very much for the picture tour it will be very helpful in planning my trip for which trails to take!

    1. Thank you! That is my intention for the blogs. Hope it helps and have a great time there! :)

  2. Thanks for the post. Was it just 10 miles or a little over?

    1. From what we calculated from the maps, it was 10 miles.

    2. Thanks I am trying to do my first double digit hike.... If that was ten I could add the Rosnos Meadow trail up and back for 13ish

    3. Let me know how that goes! We took a left and went back to the parking lot instead of extending the hike to Roznos. Good luck with you hike.

  3. Hi Chong,
    My husband and I are planning our first trip to Devil's Lake next weekend, and I came upon your blog! Great job, btw. Did you create a GPX file for your hiking route, or do you know if one exists?

    1. Thank you! Unfortunately, at the time we hiked this, we didn't record the hike so we don't have a GPX file. I have tried to search for a file but have not come across any yet. If I do, I'll let you know and enjoy your time there! It's a gorgeous park!