Where is Devil’s Lake State Park
Contained within the Baraboo Range in eastern Sauk County, Devil’s Lake State Park resides entirely in Wisconsin. The US State Park is best known for Devil’s Lake, but also contains bluffs utilized by rock climbers and several hiking trails. Several rock formations, such as Balanced Rock and Devil’s Doorway are also present within Devil’s Lake State Park. The park is located a few minutes south of Baraboo, Wisconsin and about 40 miles or about a 50-minute drive away from Madison.
How Big is Devil’s Lake State Park
Devil’s Lake State Park covers over 9,000 acres and is the largest state park in Wisconsin. The tallest landmarks found in the park are the 500 feet high quartzite bluffs. These bluffs are over 12,000 years old and were formed by a glacier that receded after the last ice age. Devil’s Lake State Park also provides access to 29 miles of hiking and biking trails and to Devil’s Lake. Twelve of these miles are on the 1,200-mile-long Ice Age trail that intersects through the park. Devil’s Lake covers over 368 acres and has a maximum depth of 46 feet.
Devil’s Lake State Park Weather
The weather and climate of Devil’s Lake State Park varies throughout the year. The park’s hottest average temperatures appear in June, July, and August and they can approach 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The park’s coldest average temperatures approach 5 degrees Fahrenheit and appear in December and January. Spring and falls in the park can be rather chilly as well. Springtime and fall high temperatures average between 30 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Their lows average between 20- and 40-degrees Fahrenheit. On average, Devil’s Lake State Park experiences 47 inches of precipitation per year. The average yearly snowfall for the Devil’s Lake area is 42 inches. Snow first appears in November and can fall sporadically until May.
When did Devil’s Lake Become a State Park
Devil’s Lake became a state park in 1911, but the area’s history dates back to the mid-1800’s when the park was first settled by pioneers. Between the years of 1866 and 1911, the area which now is Devil’s Lake State Park contained several hotels, lodges, and golf courses. Several of the hotels were even perched atop the bluffs. However, all traces of the hotels and other turn-of-the-century establishments have since been removed.
Things to do in Devil’s Lake State Park
There are quite a few ways visitors can enjoy their day at Devil’s Lake State Park. Our National Park Visitors Guide Lists below some of the most popular adventures.
Hit the Beach
Devil’s Lake State Park contains two sandy beaches located on the shores of Devil’s Lake. These beaches are the perfect spot for the whole family to enjoy a day in the sun. Visitors will also be able to enjoy the Devil’s Lake and the parks nearby picnic area. The picnic area is equipped with charcoal grills and several shelters which can be reserved online.
Float on Devil’s Lake
Seeing Devil’s Lake State Park from the water gives many visitors a different perspective to view the park. Visitors can bring their own kayak, canoe, or paddleboard to the park, or they can rent one from the park for a small fee. The Devil’s Lake Nature Center also offers various kayak tours every summer.
Toss a Fishing Line
Whether they prefer to fish from the shore or their own electric powered boat, anglers visiting Devil’s Lake State Park will enjoy the park’s fishing access. Devil’s Lake contains warm and cold-water species and is popular among anglers because of its stoked populations of brown trout, northern pike, and walleyes.
Rock Climbing at Devil’s Lake State Park
The park’s rock-climbing features are split between the “East Bluff” and the “West Bluff.” These regions in the park feature hard quartzite and granite slabs perfect for rock climbing. Some notable routes and features are Doorway Mass, Balanced Rock Wall, Devil’s Doorway, and The Lost Face. Several outfitters surrounding the state park offer equipment rentals and lessons.
Hiking and Biking at Devil’s Lake State Park
The trail system at Devil’s Lake State Park features 29 miles of hiking and biking trails. These trails range in difficulty and in length. The park’s most popular trails include Balanced Rock Trail, Devil’s Doorway Trail, and the portion of the Ice Age Trail that runs through the park.
Devil’s Lake State Park is home to a variety of wildlife species. Mammals such as deer, raccoon, squirrels, beavers, red foxes, and more are regularly seen in the park. Black bears, mountain lions, and wolves have also been previously spotted within park territory. The park also contains a wide array of avian species.
Snowshoeing and Skiing (seasonal)
In the winter, the Devil’s Lake State Park trail system becomes a winter wonderland. Upon first snowfall, the trail’s give snowshoers and skiers the ability to recreate. Snowfall in the park normally first appears in November.
Camping at Devil’s Lake State Park
Devil’s Lake State Park contains four campgrounds in which visitors can pull up their RV or pitch a tent. The campgrounds include the Quartzite Campground, Northern Lights Campground, Ice Age Campground, and a group access campground. Of the three sites accommodating families, there are a total of 433 campsites. All of these sites require a reservation and can be reserved online. Camping in the park is quite popular. Visitors are urged to make reservations well in advance.
When to Visit Devil’s Lake State Park
A trip to Devil’s Lake State Park will suit the whole family in any season. However, summer is when visitation in the park reaches its peak. The season is best for enjoying the park’s various hiking trails and Devil’s Lake. In the winter, skiers and snowshoers transcend upon Devil’s Lake State Park to capitalize on its winter trails. Spring and fall are great times to visit Devil’s Lake State Park as well. Wildlife and wildflowers are quite active in the park in the springtime. Fall brings changing color to the park’s deciduous trees.
Must-Have Items to Bring to Devil’s Lake State Park
Every trip outdoors requires a little planning and packing. List of Parks suggests these necessary items for your trip to Devil’s Lake State Park.
Water should be every hiker’s favorite piece of gear. Campers, rock climbers, and hikers looking to embark down some of the park’s longer trails should bring extra water along with them. Staying hydrated is the easiest way to keep yourself safe outdoors.
The next best thing behind water is food. Hungry hikers and campers will want to bring all of their meals and snacks with them to the park. Beef jerky, trail mix, and dried fruit are great energy-filled snacks that are easy to enjoy on-the-go.
Most of the Devil’s Lake State Park trail system contains rocky and unstable terrain. A sturdy pair of hiking boots should accompany every visitor to the park. Seasoned hikers should look to invest in a waterproof pair for added comfort and protection.
Visitors looking to go fishing, kayaking, or swimming on their trip to Devil’s Lake State Park will want to remember their swimsuit. Sunscreen and sunglasses are also recommended for anyone planning to spend long periods of time on the water.
Layers of Clothing
Temperatures in Devil’s Lake State Park vary frequently throughout seasons and time of day. Campers spending the night in the park may notice a sudden drop in temperature overnight. The best course of action is to wear a series of lightweight layers that can be expelled or added at your will.
Devil’s Lake State Park features a variety of hiking trails. Several of these trails intersect other trails at various points. Therefore, a park trail map is recommended for any visitor looking to explore the park. These maps can be viewed online or in person at the Devil’s Lake Nature Center.
Where to Stay in Devil’s Lake State Park
Visitors looking to stay and camp in Devil’s Lake State Park will want to make reservations for their campsite well before their trip. Especially in summer, but other times throughout the years as well, the park’s 433 campsites fill to capacity. Visitor’s looking to stay in a hotel or other lodging establishment will want to check nearby cities such as Baraboo or Madison.
Food Nearby Devil’s Lake State Park
Devil’s Lake State Park contains three concession areas at which visitors can enjoy a meal or snack. These concession areas are located on the north and south shores of Devil’s Lake and in the lower Ice Age Campground. A camp store also features other items campers may need to purchase during their stay like ice, drinks, and firewood. Nearby cities, such as Baraboo or Madison will also have various dining options sure to please the whole family.
Airports Near Devil’s Lake State Park
The closest airport to Devil’s Lake State Park is located in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago-Rockford International Airport is about 120 miles and a two-hour drive away from the park. The park also is roughly two hours away from Milwaukee. The city contains its own international airport.