I've been to Devil's Lake State Park a number of times over my 4+ years in Wisconsin, but we just went for the first time this year this past weekend! I can't believe the whole summer slipped away and didn't make it up there until the very last summer weekend. At the risk of sounding like everyone else in the world (or at least on the internet): Where did this summer go?
I'm so glad we went, even though our cat gets antsy when we leave him all day on Saturday. If you have a Wisconsin license plate, it's $7 for the day. Although you can do a number of things in Devil's Lake itself—kayak, canoe, fish, swim if it's warm enough—Stephen and I usually go for the hiking. There are many trails, but this is our favorite way is to hike around the whole lake. We park at the visitor's center on the North Shore then do the West Bluff trail, which is 1.4 miles with lots of pretty overlooks, as shown:
We actually saw some rock climbers, which both impressed and terrified me.
Then, once we made it down to the South shore, we read for a while, looking out at the lake and snacking. (Stephen's reading The Fountainhead which is really making me want to read it—anyone else recommend Ayn Rand? I read Shotgun Lovesongs by local author Nickolas Butler and enjoyed it, book review to come!)
Then, to continue our loop around the lake, we like to take the Balanced Rock Trail up to the East Bluff trail. For me, the Balanced Rock Trail is physically challenging! (Stephen hiked a trail like it all the time when he used to live in Arkansas, so it's NBD for him and I'm falling behind and trying not to slip.) It is pretty though! And you have a sense of accomplishment when you make it to the top. In my opinion, only go up the Balanced Rock Trail, not down. Yes, it's challenging going up it, but when I went down it on a previous trip, I just felt like I was going to fall the entire time! (You can scope out all the trails here.)
Overall, it's such a pretty park (sorry for the onslaught of photos), and not a bad drive to get there at all (only about an hour from Madison). I'd love to go again when the leaves start changing, as it is officially fall now, believe it or not. Hope everyone's having a good week! xx