Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dayhike - East Bluff Trail at Devil's Lake State Park

Devil's Lake is the largest state park in Wisconsin, one of the busiest, and beautiful in all seasons.  The park is 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Baraboo, WI. The East Bluff Trail and the East Bluff Woods Trail at Devils Lake combine to create a moderate 3 mile (4.8 km) loop with occasional views of the lake from the East Bluff Trail.

From the North Shore, I started out intending to loop around the lake, hitting both the East Bluff and West Bluff trails. With foot-packed ice covering the north facing portions of the trail, I took a good hard fall on the East Bluff trail. This motivated my decision to circle back on the East Bluff Woods Trail.

The climb down to the South Shore and the steep and rocky ascents/descents of the West Bluff Loop appeared riskier since I didn't come adequately prepared with footwear for icy trail conditions. The ground cover proves dissimilar to other hiking spots in the area. The high volume of foot traffic in this popular park had transformed the snow into thick ice.

If you head out to Devil's lake, come properly geared up to hike on ice. Choose flatter trails to avoid a fall on the steep, rocky bluff trails. I love the beauty of Devil's Lake State Park, and the solitude that can only be found in the off season on a weekday. I will be back soon.

A view of the West Bluff and Icy Devil's Lake from the East Bluff Trail.

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.

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