I’ve ended the last weekend of the “summer months” with a bang! I’ve finally crossed off another item on my [summer] bucket list and visited Devil’s Lake State Park. Devil’s Lake State Park is the Wisconsin’s largest state park, located northwest of Madison, near the Wisconsin Dells. Being outdoors amongst the woods has always been one of my favorite places growing up, and I met up with another fellow blogger for the first time who runs This Big Wild World! (Talk about a fantastic “first date” as you’ll see from the images below.) She recently came back from hiking the Inca Trail in Peru! Needless to say… she kicked my a-double s.
We began our little trek with a stroll towards the southern end of Devil’s Lake. The view from the the railroad tracks was beautiful.
Before we even got to the main trails… we found a little friend. Couldn’t tell you the name of this snake (Frank? Tom? Maybe he’s a George.), but he was pretty large! Thankful for the zoom on my camera lense; we were a couple feet away and just leaned in to snap a few shots.
Balanced Rock Trail
Being the largest state park in Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake State Park has some of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin. Our first hike was Balanced Rock Trail: a short, but rather steep trail. It was less than half a mile long, but was quite difficult since most of the trail consisted of stepping/climbing up rocks of varying size and shape. I snapped this picture below at a relatively calmer spot on the trail.
Alas, we did successfully make it to the top. And the view of the lake was so worth it!
Most of the way up, we were nice and stood way off to the side to let the (clearly tired) hikers go down easily and smoothly. Once it was OUR turn to descend the hike? We (okay definitely me. I was the grumpy one) forced some people to move off to the side. I actually had to tell a kid (teenager?) to move over. Being naturally clumsy as all hell, no way was I about to risk my life for some inconsiderate jack—! I even yelled at some kids RUNNING UP. (Seriously, where were their parents, and where was their concern for other hikers?!) Believe me, the fierce sass (or attitude?) was unleashed on our descent.
Balanced Rock does look really cool…when you’re viewing a picture on your computer screen or mobile device. I was really quite disappointed how little and unimpressive it was for as rough a hike as that was. Even if you do have buns of steel from climbing (or doing the stairmaster), it’s still pretty little. The view of Devil’s Lake itself was much more magnificent than the rock. So… do it for the lake! And let the rock be a nice added bonus. 🙂
Grottos Trail at Devil’s Lake State Park is one of the easier hikes at this park than Balanced Rock Trail. Just less than a mile through the gorgeous greenery. We took our time really soaking everything in. Plus, my poor shaky legs had to recover!! Easily assumed, this trail has “grottos” which are cold air sinks among the rocky bluff. I was disappointed that we didn’t find any, though I didn’t quite know WHAT to specifically look for. Looking back, I’m not sure I’d crawl into a little rocky hideout…. What would I find there: spiders? Snakes? No thanks!
Devil’s Lake State Park was absolutely gorgeous in the summer, even though it was a gloomy day during our visit. I can only imagine the scenery during fall when the leaves change colors. If you’re wondering where to hike in Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake is one of your best options!