Wisconsin Nature, State Parks October 31, 2018
The 10,000-Acre State Park In Wisconsin That Stands Out From The Rest
The Wisconsin State Park system is so spectacular that it’s nearly impossible to choose a favorite spot. So many of our parks offer stellar hiking, camping and watersports to go with their spectacular views and amazing geography and geology. But one park in Wisconsin has a little bit of all of those things that help it stand out – sometimes literally – from all the rest. Nestled in the rolling Baraboo hills, Devil’s Lake State Park is Wisconsin’s most popular for a reason. This park is truly gorgeous, offering unique views and some of the most interesting topography in the state. It also features part of the Ice Age Trail and the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve. It’s a truly special place you really want to make time to visit.
One of the reasons this is such a spectacular park is that there is so much to see and do within the one park. Visitors enjoy hiking, biking, climbing, camping, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, SCUBA diving, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, fishing and ice fishing, and even hunting and trapping during their season.
Pretty much the entirety of what you find in Devil's Lake State Park was formed by the Wisconsin Glaciation. The bluffs are quartzite and Devil's Lake itself was created by a glacier depositing terminal moraines that plugged the north and south ends of the gap in the bluffs during the last ice age approximately 12,000 years ago. The unusual and gorgeous formations here has long been researched and studied.
In 1974, the National Park Service declared the Southern portion of the Baraboo Hills a National Natural Landmark. The Nature Conservancy also designated it as one of the Last Great Places.
Much of the height you'll find here is part of the Baraboo Range, a buried ancient mountain range that's been exposed by erosion over the years. It's thought that the Baraboo Range was once taller than the Rocky Mountains.
The naturally formed sculpture that overlooks the lake is known as Devil's Doorway and is a popular hiking and photo-taking destination within the park. From here, you'll get sweeping views of the whole park and Baraboo Hills valley.
Parfrey's Glen is considered part of the park, though it has a separate entrance that cannot be reached from within the park. It's a gorgeous place to explore the rock formations that make this area so unique.
There's no part of the year that isn't a great time to visit Devil's Lake. In winter, you'll find far fewer visitors, but without all the trees full, you'll get gorgeous views. Plus there's nothing quite so wondrous as a forest covered in a layer of snow.
With it's Ice Age history, Devil's Lake State Park is so much more than a place to cool off in the summer or view colors in the fall. It's a truly amazing, historic and significant spot we're so lucky to have here in Wisconsin.
Devil’s Lake State Park is located at S5975 Park Rd., Baraboo, WI 53913. Admission is $13 for a day pass or free with the State of Wisconsin annual vehicle admission sticker.
Learn more about Devil’s Lake State Park from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources here.
You can also learn more from the Friends of Devil’s Lake and consider joining to support the upkeep and preservation of this great state park.
Find out more on their Facebook page.