Governor Nelson is a 422-acre day use park. It has a 500-foot sand beach, bathhouses with solar-heated showers, a four-stall boat launch, a fish cleaning facility, picnic areas, barrier free playground equipment, prairie restorations, 8.4 miles of hiking/cross country ski trails, and a scenic overlook of Lake Mendota.

For being a state park that is basically inside a city, this is a great park and trail. There are trails through prairie with beautiful wildflowers and trails to scenic lookouts. This trail goes by a dog beach and a separate regular beach with playground, bathrooms, and picnic benches. However, the water in Lake Mendota often has blue green algae blooms and can make you quite sick. Although there was not a bloom in effect when we visited, and the park ranger said it was safe to swim, my toddler swam in the water and played on the beach and he complained of a stomach ache the next day and had other symptoms in line with mild blue green algae exposure. So, I wouldn’t recommend swimming, but we liked the trails so much that he and I visited again (but we just didn’t swim).

Little spongy. Yet a beautiful trek! Ospreys, wild turkey, lots of other birds and critter sightings.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

My favorite state park so far in Madison, I love the beach pretty clean

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

We love this trail for an easy walk with the dogs. Park is very dog friendly.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

This trail was well marked and easy to follow, parking was not a problem at all, really enjoyed this trail I will do it over and over, some party of the trail was still muddy in April, so wear hiking boots.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Ok but underwhelming. Gov. Dodge was the founder of Earth Day, and this is a rather low key park to bare his namesake. The trails are mostly open prairie next to a busy road. The park does have a really nice beach for family picnics.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Easy stroll by Lake Mendota, through the woods, and on prairie. The trail is flat and wide, but can be muddy in places. Nice view across the lake toward the Capitol. There is a pet exercise (swimming?) area. Now why did the turkeys cross the road?

12 days ago

2 months ago

3 months ago

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday, May 07, 2017