Parfrey’s Glen is Wisconsin’s first State Natural area and is unquestionably the most visited state natural area outside of Devil’s Lake State Park. The glen is open to the public from 6am to 8pm. At its uppermost part, the glen reaches a depth of nearly 100 feet and embraces a mountain-type stream flowing through its floor. The Glen’s walls are sandstone embedded with pebbles and boulders of quartzite. This quartzite is conglomerate, sometimes called a “plum pudding” stone. The sandstone layers represent ancient sandy beach. Because the Glen has many unusual and rare flora, visitors must stay on the trail from the lower parking area to the top of the glen and retrace their steps back. The Path is about 0.8 miles long.
In the last 20 years, the glen has been changed drastically by powerful floods. The glen has gone through various closures, repairs and upgrades in recent years. The bridges and trail known to hikers in the 80s and early 90s are now gone. The trail was again damaged by flooding in 2010 and closed until the fall of 2011. The 2011 repairs only went as far as the gorge itself. The expectation of further floods has caused the DNR to curb spending on repairs within the gorge proper. Hikers wishing to continue up to the waterfall must navigate a stream and rough stone. The steps leading up to the old viewing area and the viewing area are also damaged. Steps are missing and a section of the viewing area is now partly collapsed. Use caution if you plan to go beyond the marked trail.
That said, there are a few rules posted for visitors to the glen :
- No carry in food or drink
- Picnicing is allowed near the parking area
- Stay on the Trail (which is a bit hard to do)
- No rock climbing, rappelling or off-trail exploration
- No picking plants or collecting any objects
- no pets are allowed
- A current Wisconsin State park sticker is required on all vehicles.
Pafrey’s Glen is about 4 miles east of Devil’s Lake State Park. To reach Parfrey’s Glen, just take Hwy. 113 south out of Baraboo and turn left on DL. The entrance will be on your left a few miles down. The entrance is a bit hard to see, but if come to a 4-way stop near the Old Schoolhouse Restaurant, you passed it. Just turn around and go back about a half mile. To find Parfrey’s Glen on a map just go to our Devil’s Lake Trail Map.
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