Explore To do - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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I loved the path this trail took around the lake. The viewpoints were beautiful. The cool air was refreshing. The trail was beautiful.
Unfortunately, the path is being paved over so it can be hard on the knees and ankles. Also, the trail does not allow overnight campers so allow time and energy to do it in one day. Also there were $41 in camp and park entrance fees. In addition to all that, the trail and campsite were crowded with loud families. I expected this loop to feel more like a backpacking trip and less like a family vacation tourist trap.

I suppose I should have researched more.

Great fun trail! Definitely coming back.

hiking
19 days ago

I have done this hike twice and both times it was amazing! The rocky steps on the East Bluff are a little tricky to go up, but it is definitely doable for the average person. I can’t wait to come back!

Nice steep hills. Outer loop of the trail is not maintained. I’m 5’8 and the weeds were taller than me. Easy trail for a warm up

hiking
23 days ago

I found that the mileage was slightly off. Don’t like the cracked and bubbled asphalt on West Bluff because you have to watch every step. Watch the slick quartz on the Balanced Rock trail but it is gorgeous!

Nice hike and a great view! Well worth it.

a real nice hike, lots of good viewpoints overlooking the lake. and at both ends if your feet get tired you can cool them off in the lake.

It was a nice morning for a hike.

The trail itself is very challenging and wonderfully rustic. From an aesthetic point, it’s great! I had a hard time finding the loop and ended up turning around because the mosquitos were absolutely awful. I even sprayed myself on the trail but nothing worked. I would love to try and explore this trail some more, but the bugs might keep me away

Great workout. Steep hills are challenging.

During the summer weekends there are so many people hiking up and down this much-trafficked trail. However, it’s definitely a must see. And, if you’re into climbing, there are so many places to set-up along the trail!

Personally, I think the climbing is much better than the hiking, but if you prefer hiking, the trails are very well maintained, though the lower trails at the base of the climbing routes can be a little tricky to navigate with rocks. We take our dog (a small puggle) and she loves to clamber over the trails.

Awesome hike :)

hiking
1 month ago

a great trail for a walk. not great for trail for a hike. but awfully pretty. walking on gravel which is nice and the whole preserve is very well maintained. would be great for the whole family, storyboards along trail a treat to find.

This hike is always well-trafficked (with the exception of the winter months) and has some of the best hiking views in Wisconsin. The climb up can be some serious cardio but things stay pretty flat once you’ve reached the top of the bluffs until you head back down

hiking
1 month ago

Devil’s Doorway is definitely one of the busiest spots along the Devil’s Lake trails but is a must-see if you’re visiting the park for the first time

hiking
1 month ago

Well maintained gravel loop trails. Has a little of everything—lakes, prairie, woods. Plenty of foot traffic but it’s a gem that’s close to home.

Not impressed at all. Trail is not being maintained at all. Got down towards the bottom and couldn’t find the trail. Had to turn around because the mosquitoes were insane. I saw a turkey though which was cool.

hiking
2 months ago

Gorgeous views! Would recommend wearing boots. Even got to swim in the lake. The water is chilly but feels great after a hike on a summer day! Water seems clean, lake is sandy.

2 months ago

Nice short trail for morning run or walk

Beautiful

hiking
3 months ago

Gorgeous view, great photo op, and fun!

hiking
3 months ago

Fun and gorgeous. Lots of bluffs to have a great view of the lake from. Dog friendly if on a leash. Nice beach. Seen quite a few people with kayak’s and paddle boards, this is a no wake boating allowed. Trails are awesome. Their are few rock structures like “devils doorway” that are great photo ops. Camping is available. Highly recommend!!

Devils Lake is the ‘go to’ hike anytime there is time to make the drive from Madison. Having done the hikes many times, a couple recommendations:

1) If coming into the park from Hwy 12, a shortcut is to take ski hi rd and park at the boat launch lot near the south shore. This gives access to either the west bluffs right across the lot or a short stroll along the lake boardwalk to the south shore/east bluffs. There is also a dog play area at the boat launch if your pooch likes to swim (just pay attention and be courteous of boaters)

2) I oftentimes hike up the west bluff trail to the north shore, then take the lakeside path back, for a quick loop that takes a little under 1 1/2 hrs at a moderate pace for those hiking without young kids (depending on your pace and if you have kids it may take up to 2 1/2 -3). The elevation gain on each bluff is around 450 ft. I’m in good shape and a strong hiker so this doesn’t seem like much; that said the gains are moderate/steep for those unaccustomed, but then they do flatten out on the bluffs after the initial ascent. There are no 1500 foot elevation gains at devils lake contrary to another review below.

3) If you take the longer loop from the west, finding the east bluff trailhead can be a bit of a challenge at first, and you may inadvertently end up on the railroad tracks like Lisa Reilly did in her review below. The tracks can be walked but are NOT part of the trail system around the lake. From the north shore boat launch, cut across the tracks on the walking path, continue up a grassy area in front of the parking lot, and turn LEFT. You may see a bathroom facility, keep left until you see the trailhead sign another couple hundred yards. Lisa (and anyone else that isn’t aware) I hope you give the loop another try and locate the east bluff trail - it is even better (but longer) than the west bluff IMO.

4) Likewise, if you start on the east bluffs, you may inadvertently end up on the lakeside path (which is nice but has no climb). As you make your way toward the west bluffs on the walking path, after the last bathroom facility before the lakeside path starts, head right off the path through the picnic area. You should see the west bluff trail at the end of the picnic area.

5) If you go on weekends, and want to bring your dog and/or beat crowds, start early (8am at latest). My lab can handle the trails well but I recognize having an 85 lb beast barreling down (or up!) balanced rock is not something other people want to deal with especially when the trail is crowded. If your dog isn’t used to steep trails with lots of rocks you may want to consider another option.

Try the whole loop going east to west (from the south shore) or west to east (if starting from north shore) if you have time (I prefer going up balanced rock over down). You wont find a better short 5 mile hike with real (albeit short) climbs anywhere else the area.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail that's just far enough away. Decent amount of people but I would definitely recommend!

very quick, dramatic view

It's a great trail.
Posting are accurate on markers.

birding
4 months ago

nice walking

hiking
5 months ago

Fun/challenging hike for northern Illinois standards. Turned it into about a 5 mile trek by following a few rabbit trails. Backs up to a ski hill so there's some incline. If you live in northern Illinois and are looking for a spot to train for more strenuous hikes elsewhere this is a good spot for it

hiking
5 months ago

Unmarked trails but if you stick to the outside you will be fine on the loop. Recommend going to the top of the “mountain” great views!
Brought my pup and ran into a few other people with dogs. Very friendly.

hiking
6 months ago

Easy fun hike!

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