Where Can I Snowshoe?
Folks have asked where they can snowshoe around the park. In fact, there’s been a lot of interest in snowshoeing in general this year! That’s fantastic! Snowshoing is a great reason to get outdoors and stay fit as well! So here’s a bit more info about snowshoeing in the park and around the area including a map of locations where you can get started.
The snowshoeing rules within Devil’s Lake State Park are pretty simple. You can snowshoe anywhere you like, except on designated ski trails. What that means in real terms is that you cannot use the Steinke Basin or Johnson Moraine loops. Where’s that? Well, here’s a map of the park’s trails. Steinke Basin and Johnson Moraine are located to the North-East of the lake itself.
Of course, you could certainly snowshoe beside and between the ski trails, but the goal is not to mess them up and some skiers get really uptight if they see hikers or snowshoers even close to the ski trails. Often, rightly so. Thing is, there are plenty of other trails to use if you don’t want to just head out into the wilds of the park.
If this is your first year or you’re not in Uber-snowshoing condition yet, you may want to start simply by hiking around the north shore picnic area, then when you want to add a bit more distance you can work your way up into the campgrounds. The campgrounds are pretty nice snowshoeing areas. Just keep in mind that Quarzite campground is closed due to construction.
Other easy trails within the park would be Roznos Meadow on the south-east corner of the park and the Grottos trail just east of the South Shore parking lots. Grottos is also heavily wooded and nice for those windy days! (See the map!)
Oh, and don’t forget the lake itself. Well, when it’s safe anyway!!
If you’re in good shape, then all of the East Bluff and Uplands Trails are yours to explore. To get up onto the East Bluff, take the East Bluff Woods Trail to avoid the stairs. There is also a parking area on Hwy 113 which will give you access to both the Uplands and Sauk Point trails.. Again, check the map.
In The Area
Outside of the park we recommend the Merrimac Preserve Trail which is certainly appropriate for beginners and beautiful to boot! The Merrimac Preserve is located on Hwy 113 just south-east of Devil’s Lake’s Roznos Meadow Trail. You may also enjoy the many trails at Mirror Lake State Park and Rocky Arbor State Park. Check the map for these locations as well.
If you need snowshoes, you’re in luck! If you want to go try snowshoeing within the park, you can borrow snowshoes absolutely free from the Nature Center located on the North Shore of the park. They even have kids sizes! The trick is catching them during winter hours! You’ll now find the Nature Center’s winter hours on our events calendar. That helps a lot! If you’re not sure, you may want to call ahead.
If you want to go snowshoeing outside of the park or if the Nature Center is closed, you can rent Snowshoes & XC skies from Wildside in Baraboo. They are located on Hwy 12, just a couple of miles north of Devil’s Lake.
Need To Learn?
Well, Snowshoeing is pretty basic. There are a couple of tricks to making the experience a bit easier however. If you join in on any of the Winter Snowshoe/hiking events at Devil’s Lake State Park, the naturalist will give you some quick instruction. For some of us, it is just what we need!
Snowshoeing is a very accessible sport. All you need are snowshoes, maybe some poles and warm winter clothing. You can really do it anywhere that you can walk. Our map only gets you started, there are many, many more places to explore here in the Baraboo Hills.. Just look at it this way.. if you can hike there, you can snowshoe.. (Barring Ski trails of course!)