New trail markers/maps will make it easier* to explore the Steinke Basin & Uplands Trails at Devil’s Lake State Park.
*Update Sept 1, 2016: Well, this isn’t good…. There are major mistakes on these new signs that could get a visitor quite lost while out on the Steinke Basin & Uplands Trails. The brown boxes on the left-hand side denoting trails and points of interest are all incorrect and could send hikers out on a wild goose chase.
My best guess is that this sign was originally designed to be placed at the top of the Potholes Trail on the East Bluff/Ice Age Trail. When the design was repurposed for the Steinke Basin trails, someone failed to note or update the brown boxes. (This is why we we need to check our work!) Hikers can use the map and the “You Are Here!” designations are correct. However, ignore the brown boxes or you may get very lost.
From any location on Steinke Basin, you are nowhere near the CCC trail, The East Bluff Trail is NOT to your left or right and Devil’s Doorway is quite a bit more than .15 miles away. In fact from one location if you follow the sign toward what you think will be Devil’s Doorway, you will end up walking in a never-ending loop…. Good luck out there!
Devil’s Lake’s Steinke Basin Loop & Uplands Trails are lesser known, but are popular with experienced park visitors due to the lack crowds, even on busy weekends. (This is especially true for the 4 mile, Uplands loop.) Hikers can also combine these loops with other trails within the park to get in a 7 to 10 mile day. For those with even more ambition (And a more detailed map!), these trails also connect to others heading east to Parfrey’s Glen and south to continue on the Ice Age Trail system toward Lodi & Gibraltar Rock SNA. Of course, it’s a good thing to know where you are!
It’s not un-common for hikers coming from the more popular East Bluff Trail (Near the Devil’s Doorway rock formation) to miss a turn-around and find themselves lost out on the Uplands Trail. For the last couple of years missing or unreadable maps meant that lost hikers were in for a very long, dry, stressful day! Luckily for most hikers, the looping trails would generally get them home.. eventually.
The new signs provide clean topographical maps, detailed keys and the ever-useful “YOU ARE HERE” stars. * Trail markers on the left-side show approximate distances from your location to other trails. Pretty easy! Well, you may still need to know how to find north.