Devil's Lake is the largest state park in Wisconsin, and one of the busiest. Although the Wisconsin landscape can sometimes be rather barren once the leaves fall, Devil's Lake is amazing - beautiful at every turn and in all seasons. The park is 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Baraboo, WI. It contains approximately 29 miles (46.7 km) of hiking trails. The trails that ascend the bluffs are of a moderate to strenuous level of difficulty, the Tumbled Rocks Trail is easy.
|Rock stairway heading down to the South Shore.|
Although my gps lost power about 3.5 miles (5.6 km) into the hike, I estimate the route I took was about 5 miles (8 km). From the North Shore, I headed up the East Bluff Trail, swung over to the Balanced Rock and Devil's Doorway Trails, then headed to the Potholes trail, down to the Grottos Trail, across the beach to the Boardwalk Trail, then along the road and over to the Tumbled Rocks Trail. The hike across the beach and over to the West Bluff made for a short stint on the 1,000+ mile (1609 km) Ice Age Trail.
With the temperature at 24°F (-4.4°C), flurries flew on piercing winds but did not accumulate. This usually busy park had fallen silent. I ran into only one other hiker. This time of year I typically don't run into other hikers, but with this park being one of the busiest in the state, to run into only one other is quite unusual. Snow flurries decorated the colorful quartzite boulders, but did not accumulate. Most of the slick ice that plagued my last visit had disappeared.
|Flurries land on quartzite boulders on the East Bluff.|
|Tumbled Rocks Trail.|
|I completed the loop back to the starting point; however, I lost power on my tracking device about 2/3 into the hike.|
Distance covered - my device lost power at 3.5 miles (5.6 km), I estimate I covered 5 miles (8 km)
Trail conditions - cold with light flurries, dry trail with only an occasional spot of ice
Level of difficulty - strenuous on the East Bluff descent near the South Shore
Highlights - Devil's Doorway, gorgeous purple quartzite boulders, views of Devil's Lake and the West Bluff