Explore the most popular paddle sports trails in Wisconsin with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

It was a nice morning for a hike.

Felt like more of a walk than a hike. Either super sunny or all shade and bugs. Some steep hills which is a good challenge but since it’s all graded felt more like a walk than a hike. The falls were great to see though but PACKED with people swimming and lounging. I’d suggest a weekday.

Pretty great views but my only complaints are that: (1) the trail becomes just impossible to follow after the caves with zero trail markers the whole time that I eventually had to turn around with fear of being lost and (2) the lack of fencing around the caves would make it extremely dangerous to bring small children. That being said, the trail was overall very easy walking, only a few spots where I had to take big step ups/step downs, moments where the trail was slippery, but overall a nice, enjoyable trial! Lots of tree coverage from the sun, cute little streams to enjoy, nice openings where you can enjoy the lake and it’s expanse, and pretty decent teaser views of the caves.

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.

This is a great trail in the Wisconsin State Park system! It’s not particularly difficult, but it is mostly uphill. The first portion is forested and the bugs are often atrocious because of the marshy landscape, so make sure to wear big spray. Also, there is a lot of poison ivy, so it’s important to stay on the trails. The second portion goes through a series of goat prairies with beautiful views of the river valley.

It’s perfect to take a hike up with a lunch and sit at the CCC shelter at the top. The hike down is comprised of wooden stairs and a short trail hike, then you have to follow the road along the water toward the park center. This trail is a perfect afternoon hike and offers connection to water trails for kayaking, camping at the Perrot campgrounds, and access to the Trempealeau river bike trail. Make sure to stop at the Trempealeau Hotel for lunch or dinner!

Awesome hike :)

Some awesome views. Be sure to take the side trails for the views and be sure to make it to the last viewpoint before the camp.

There are a few steep hills but nothing crazy. Mostly out in the open, not a lot of shade and no water sources. Also the drawdown of the lake doesn’t leave you with great water views. But still a good hike.

paddle sports
23 days ago

I’ve paddled this section many times and have experienced it both as a small child and as a skilled adult canoeist. Very pretty yet also quite popular due to the long standing canoe rental. This section is generally very slow and is intended more as a scenic trip. The lower section has ledges and class 3 and 4 rapids (mild interpretations of which except during the springtime melt) and are for more experienced paddlers.

Beautiful place to spend a day. Lots of rental opportunities on the lake as well like, kayak, boat, paddle board etc. will do again!

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
26 days 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

Moderate loop with a couple of steep sections featuring a fantastic blufftop Mississippi River view. CCC-built shelter sits at vista. Part of the trail looks like it was built by the CCC. Bugs are an issue here, but they are not as bad as they are at some other parks in the region. Overall, Wisconsin is not really known for its hiking, but this is one of the best hikes in Wisconsin.

If you go early in the morning on a weekday, it's very empty and peaceful. The later you go in the day, the more heavy traffic you will see. The waterfall is worth the walk. Beware of snakes, especially if you have little ones walking with you.

LOVE the waterfall and the scenic view points are great, especially the one at the top of the staircase. Easily a favorite and have visited many times.

hiking
1 month ago

I enjoyed this hike. Lots of little break offs to explore and nice connections to the river. There was a lot of bush and the trail of wasn’t super well kept. And the BUGS WERE HORRIBLE!!! I was covered in bug bites by the time I left so if you do this trail don’t forget your big spray!!

hiking
1 month 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

We started at the museum of art and did the memorial park loop and the headed north just to/past the beach area past tower drive and back for a 6 mi round trip loop. The oak leaf trail portions that we did were great for rollerblading, there was only one section near the memorial park loop that was not great for blading but not terrible. Would do it again and use different trail to get through memorial park for rollerblading.

hiking
2 months ago

Gorgeous view, great photo op, and fun!

hiking
2 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.

5.8 mile hike. Well maintained trails. Excellent waterfall.

very quick, dramatic view

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

Hiked up last night to see the sunset. Beautiful trail, great park!

nature trips
3 months ago

Somewhat hard to follow the trail since there are so many forks, but I think all of the trails end up at the same place. It was beautiful! Definitely will go again

scenic area, lots of good restaurants and shops if you want to stop in downtown Racine

good for quick runs.

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