Capital Springs State Recreation Area

Located just outside Madison, Capital Springs is a semi secluded area just off the beltline highway that overlaps with Lake Farm County Park. Cooperatively managed by Dane County and the DNR, Capital Springs and Lake Farm Park offer a variety of activities including biking, camping, boating, fishing, and hiking. Throughout the area, there are over 6 miles of trails, including some boardwalk sections over wetlands.


Hiking: Pressed for time, this hike focused on the portion of the park boarding Nine Springs Creek and the belt line. Walking the outer ring of the trail, this loop was just over 2 miles. The trail itself was very well kept with sections that were being further improved. The trail ranged from gravel, to dirt, to short grass depending on the area.

Cap Springs – North Section

Length: 2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Positives: Abundant wildlife, well maintained path
Negatives: Close to the belt line and a railroad track

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Capital Springs State Recreational Area

The trail offers views of the surrounding areas, including Nine Springs Creek. Unfortunately, the north side of the trail runs parallel to the belt line highway and a railroad track. While it is far away, there is still a constant background noise of the highway.

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Various wildlife can be seen along the trail, including birds, deer, snakes, frogs, and small mammals. We were lucky enough to see a pair of Sandhill Cranes.

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