Monday, October 13, 2014

Day Hike on the West Bluff Trail at Devil's Lake State Park

Devil's Lake is the largest state park in Wisconsin, one of the busiest, and incredibly beautiful.  Starting from the North Shore, the loop to the top of the West Bluff returning along the lake shore makes for a beautiful hike.

The West Bluff Trail provides amazing views of the lake and beyond, while the Tumbled Rocks Trail  features tumbled rocks covered with pale green lichens in contrast with beautiful purples, reds, and pinks of some of the more colorful boulders. This loop covers just under 3.0 miles.

The West Bluff Trail at Devil's Lake State Park is a small section of the 1,000+ mile (1609 km) Ice Age Trail. It begins with a steep but short climb to beautiful vistas from 500 feet (162 m) above Devil's Lake. The ascent and descent features many stone steps, with views and breezes a refreshing reward for the hike up.  The West Bluff portion from North to South is 1.4 miles. The difficulty of this portion of the trail is moderate to strenuous.

The return portion of the loop on the west side to Devil's Lake is 1.5 miles. A road at the South end of the West Bluff trail leads to the Tumbling Rocks Trail. The easy 1.0 mile hike on Tumbling Rocks Trail is paved. The hike follows the lake shore and a wall of tumbled rocks. 

We heard a bit of complaining from our daughter on the uphill portion of the hike and were glad we did this first. Later, she practically ran the downhill portion while we took the descent more slowly. 

The Tumbled Rocks Trail makes for an easy mile. On Tumbled Rocks we heard no complaints and no requests for rest breaks. Shortly after we finished our hike it rained. Although I don't mind hiking in the rain with rain jackets, I was glad not to be hiking the leaf covered slippery stone steps in the rain.

A vehicle admission sticker is required for visiting Wisconsin State Parks. The sticker may be purchased annually, or for short visits a short term sticker may be purchased. For maps of the hiking trails, and more information about Devil's Lake State park, visit the Wisconsin DNR website on the Devil's Lake State Park page.

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