Historic, Native American, trail marker trees are amazing reminders that the world was a much different place not so many years ago. This tree is located near the Devil’s Doorway Rock Formation on the park’s East Bluff Trail. In the past, Native Americans would bend young trees to create trail long-lasting markers to designate paths through rough country, point to water, food sources and important landmarks. This marker points directly away from Devil’s Doorway and would encourage a visitor to continue east along the cliffs, possibly to a safe way down or to the Wisconsin River in the distance. We’ll probably never know.
It’s worth noting that many trees called “trail markers” are controversial. This marker tree at Devil’s Lake, may seem too young and too small at first glance, however, the oaks and hickory trees on the top of the park’s east bluff are often miniaturized due to limited root mobility and soil type. Devil’s Lake is actually home to a rare Dwarf or Pigmy Forest which stands not far from this site.