hiking

views

dogs on leash

forest

walking

wildlife

birding

trail running

lake

kid friendly

wild flowers

nature trips

rock climbing

Spectacular scenery, a full range of recreational activities, and a full-time naturalist make this a very popular park. The nearly-10,000-acre state park is 2 miles south of Baraboo and about 40 miles northwest of Madison.

I did this trail yesterday but cut in on the Upland Trail loop and stayed inside of hwy 113 it was about 10+ miles. I'm glad I started at park headquarters and did the bluffs first. it took me 4 hours or so. just an fyi parts of it are on park roads

hiking
13 days ago

It was beautiful. It’s a great cardio workout on the way up. You must to wear shoes with good traction! Some rocks are slippery, especially on the way down. Bring water. If you’re afraid of heights, this may not be the trail for you. It would be amazing in fall!

hiking
17 days ago

Challenging climb but worth it! Wear boots and pack extra water. Love the view!

hiking
17 days 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.

Great hike with the family. Even on an extremely hot day, the views were worth the effort.

hiking
1 month ago

Gorgeous view, great photo op, and fun!

hiking
1 month 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.

very quick, dramatic view

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

My absolute favorite. So beautiful, so serene.

Take it easy going up if you arent used to walking up hills. The grade is gradual. The scenery is well worth it! If you go all the way around it does get rocky and close to the edge at some areas

hiking
1 month ago

It is a lovely hike in the spring. It’s nice to see the land “waking up” from winter. The meadow portion only had a couple wet spots. Once one arrives in the woods, it’s pretty clear until you get higher up, where there is some snow on the trail.

hiking
3 months ago

Moderate loop that took us 2 hours on the dot to complete, with minor rest stops at the bluff tops. The lower leg (Tumbled Rocks Trail) offered a surprisingly cool landscape.

hiking
3 months ago

It was worth the 3 Hour drive. The snow and ice made more special.

hiking
3 months ago

This is the trail where I always start my hikes into Devil's Lake State Park because it is the path less taken. You can hike for a few hours round trip and see hardly anyone if you take this quiet path up to the East Bluff via Woodland trail, then do the Devil's Doorway loop and then down the pot holes then back up the CCC, then out again through the meadow. Take enough water, I always see people looking miserable, overheated and dehydrated because they underestimate the energy and time they will spend on these trails.
There are a lot of people at the top especially in the summer. Recommend taking your time, stopping for a picnic in and amongst the boulders along the escarpment. Also go in spring and fall, not so much in the summer unless it's early morning on a Tuesday or Wednesday, if you prefer solitude.

4 months ago

beautiful

hiking
7 months ago

I try to do this loop at least once a year...for a Wisconsin hiking experience, this is the best you’ll find in the state, in my opinion. Awesome elevation gains, incredible views throughout. West Bluff, Balanced Rock and Potholes trails are no joke. Wear good shoes / boots and be ready for some serious cardio. 600 feet up in short order...

hiking
7 months ago

Crazy how difficult this was for how short the trail is. It was busy but it was a fun trail and well worth it!

hiking
7 months ago

The trail kept getting more beautiful as we got higher! Amazing view of the lake.

hiking
7 months ago

This is an awesome hike. Took my 3 yr. old daughter and she did pretty well on the inclines (although it was slow going). Had her in the backpack for the hike out thru the woods. Views were great. Pretty busy even during the week in the fall.

Difficult. Straight up at times but fun.

Good trail. Nice scenery and fairly easy.

hiking
8 months ago

This was so beautiful. Balanced Rock trail on the east side...which takes you to east bluff... is almost a scramble. I never had to use my hands but super steep with breathtaking views. I can’t wait to hike this again.

Awesome hike, did it this past weekend in about 25 hours. The to climbs are not to be underrated, but are doable. There are lots of scenic bluffs which are awesome to take a look at. We had a great time hiking this and would definitely recommend it.

hiking
9 months ago

Nice trail. beautiful views

Really nice--really long easy trail head for hikers with limitations. Once beyond this point, be prepared to rock hop through the actual glen.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful! Great workout and well maintained trails

Great views!

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