Devil's Lake Loop

MODERATE 161 reviews
#1 of 12 trails in

Devil's Lake Loop is a 4.7 mile loop trail located near Baraboo, Wisconsin that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.7 miles
997 feet

dogs on leash




mountain biking

paddle sports

rock climbing

trail running





wild flowers


1 day ago

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

18 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.

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!!

1 month ago

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.

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...

7 months ago

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

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.

9 months ago

Nice trail. beautiful views

9 months ago

I thoroughly enjoyed the first 2 miles of this loop. It was a continual climb right at the onset, which was very challenging, reaching 1500 feet. There were many large rocks and rock stairs to navigate. The view from the top of the trail is magnificent. However, following the "Devils Lake Loop" as it is laid out here takes you out of the wooded trail and to a road where you will walk for a distance before the trail picks up again. Then, the trail essentially ends and you must walk on or along railroad tracks for at least a mile to finish the loop around the lake. This loop is not an official trail when looking at the state park map. However, if you are looking to circle the lake, just be prepared for 1/2 of your hike to be unconventional and not particularly fun or interesting.

10 months ago

Steep trail going up and down West Bluff trail, but the views at the top are worth the climb. We took the trail that runs directly next to the lake on the way back to the south shore. Nice path with big boulders along the side. Made for a great hike.

10 months ago

Started at South Shore since that was the only parking available. Popular place on a gorgeous weekend. Took the West Bluff Trail. Very steep up and back down on both ends. Awesome overlooks. Made a loop by coming back along the west shore, very cool paved trail through the quartzite boulders.

10 months ago

Parts are steep but the overlooks are rewarding.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Just an awesome loop. Do the full loop. You'll be tired at the end, but can unwind on the beach and grab yourself a basket of chicken tenders at the end. A bit crowded with people if that isn't your thing.

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Friday, October 07, 2016

Great hike, recommend going counter clockwise around lake to get best workout

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Fantastic State Park. Parking pass cost of $11. Lots of parking options near the trails.
We started at the North end of the East Bluff Trail and then cut off on to the Balanced Rock Trail. East Bluff is a moderate Trail with a few steeper grades. We hiked in early October so it was muddy and slippery in parts. Strongly suggest good hiking boots for this time of year. The Balanced Rock Trail from N to S is steep and rocky. It is also very narrow. It is a Moderate to Advanced Trail the lower you go. It ends on the railroad tracks that can be followed back to the visitor center and parking. The lake and the views are beautiful. I highly recommend this park and the trails. One additional note. This is a very popular trail and busy in the afternoons. Go early if you want a less crowded experience.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The trails we got to hike were great, would maybe like to see a few more markers, but honestly even the few times we momentarily lost the trail, we were able to pick it right back up. The views are phenomenal.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Beautiful place to enjoy the land, water, and sky! :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Fantastic scenery, specially at devil doorway

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Fun for the whole family, a wide selection of trails, and breathtaking views. I'm definitely going go there again.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The bluffs overlooking the lake and valley are absolutely gorgeous. The main trails can be a little congested during weekends but there are plenty of off-shoots and smaller trails to keep you moving. Bouldering and rock climbing are permitted and there are plenty of areas to explore.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

My favorite lake in my home town, also has some good rock climbing.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

This is a great hike and gets treacherous. Wear good shoes. The more difficult areas are worth it the vow!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Did a short snowshoe trek with the in-laws this past week. We were there on a Thursday and the temps were in the single digits - I don't think that there were more than 10 people in the entire park. For a park that sees so much annual traffic it was nice to have the entire park to ourselves. The snow cover was a bit disappointing, but that's not the park's fault. There are plenty of places to get off of the marked trails and just blaze trail. We followed a small frozen creek bed. It was an enjoyable time!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Awesome day trip.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Great trail. Very busy but the autumn view was beautiful over the rock lookouts. Fun time and trails were very easy to follow.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Great time walking on the trail. Very challenging but the views are worth it!!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Outstanding trail, climbing up the East bluff offers breathtaking views and beautiful rock formations such as the Devils doorway. There are different segments of the trail that are more wooded and others closer to the lake, great variety.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Trails are great.

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