The many beautiful parks and trails in Dane County offer year-round fun and gorgeous views, but we think that NOW is the perfect time to enjoy them. Soak up what’s left of summer at these great outdoor spots, or make a visit when the leaves are changing for some yellow, orange and red hues!
1. Babcock County Park Situated near McFarland on the east side of Lake Waubesa and at the outflow of the Yahara River, Babcock County Park offers a campground, picnic area, boat launch and accessible fishing pier. There’s so much fun to be had right in our own back yard!
2. Blue Mound State Park Dane County is lucky enough to be home to several State Parks – Blue Mound being one of them. Perched at the highest point in southern Wisconsin, Blue Mound State Park features unique terrain and stunning views, plus hiking, biking and ski trails, a campground, a summer swimming pool and splash pad, and more. This is the place to take in fall colors!
3. Ice Age National Scenic Trail The Ice Age National Scenic Trail offers the opportunity for recreational hiking and backpacking, and stretches its way across Wisconsin for more than 1,000 miles from the Minnesota border to Door County. Enjoy the Dane County portion which passes through the Lodi Marsh to the Brooklyn State Wildlife Area!
4. Governor Nelson State Park Not far from downtown Madison sits Governor Nelson State Park, which offers a sand beach, boat launch, picnic areas, miles of trails, Native American effigy mounds and views of Lake Mendota and the Wisconsin Capitol.
5. Lower Yahara River Trail This 2.5-mile trail links the city of Madison and the village of McFarland through an off-road trail, including the longest inland boardwalk bridge in North America! The trail is open for hiking, biking and other non-motorized transit.
6. Pheasant Branch Conservancy For views of downtown Madison, the Capitol building, and beautiful Lake Mendota, plus freshwater springs and Pheasant Branch Creek, head to Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton! Enjoy biking, hiking, snowshoeing and wildlife viewing.
7. Lake Kegonsa State Park Nestled on the northeast side of Lake Kegonsa and between McFarland and Stoughton, you’ll find Lake Kegonsa State Park. Aside from the breathtaking views, there’s opportunity for boating, camping, fishing, hiking, archery hunting, picnicking and swimming. Just picture those fall colors reflecting in stunning Lake Kegonsa!
8. Schumacher Farm Park For a one-of-a-kind experience, visit Schumacher Farm Park in Waunakee, where you’ll find a 40-acre farmstead with trails leading to a view of the Capitol, an outdoor museum, a 10-acre prairie restoration and experiences authentic to the 1920-30s time period.
9. Token Creek County Park Outdoor activities abound at Token Creek County Park. Take a staycation and utilize the campground, dog park, boat launch, kayaking, disc golf, equestrian/hiking/snowshoeing trails, volleyball court, and more!
10. Capital Springs State Recreation Area This natural resource area features opportunities for disc golf, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, hiking, hunting, snowshoeing, wildlife viewing, biking, mountain biking, camping and more – and it’s all right here on the southern side of Madison!
Madison may be the second-largest city in Wisconsin, but it is also surrounded by the beauty of nature and endless outdoor recreation. Which of these spots is your go-to?