Blackhawk Lake Recreation Area, Highland, Wisconsin — A Popular Man-Made Lake and Fishing Location (Bonus: Puppy Photos!)

Lush green tree trees and bright blue water! Is it summer again already? If you’re living in a COVID time-soup bubble and aren’t 100% sure what month it is, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. It’s not summer, I’m just super slow at posting within the same month, nay, the same season. Better late than never and all that jazz, but I feel like this way I get to relive the summer twice. (There’s that relentless optimism that I’ve been missing for months!)

This post brings us back to a late spring day in early June. The air was starting to warm but there was still a slight chill in the breeze. We traveled the 1 hour and 10 minutes from Madison to Blackhawk Lake Recreation Area, located between Cobb and Highland. The water was cold and the fish weren’t biting.

Before I jump into our adventures in 2020, let me take you on a trip back in time to 1968. I always like to include some history on the parks I visit but never before have I seen such fantastic visuals. The Blackhawk Lake website has really put together a wonderful collection of history on the creation of their park. All of the historical information I’ve included was found on their website. Please check it out if you don’t want my bastardized version of some stellar local history.

Super brief summary: Beginning in 1968, plans for the creation of a man-made lake and surrounding park came to fruition. The project, estimated to cost $1.1 million (in 1968 dollars!!) required the purchase of 13 farms and the building of two dams to create the lake. Once the dams were in place, the lake took 260ish days to fill. The park was also to include campsites and picnic areas. It opened on July 4, 1972.

The land before the lake

The lake while it was filling

This brings us back to our 2020 adventure. We visited the park with plans to fish, hike, and picnic. While I couldn’t find information on the length of trails at the park, it seemed like a lot from looking at the maps. Much more than we were planning to complete.

The red dashed line represents the hiking trails

Unfortunately, we were limited by our puppy (then 3.5 months old) and her growing joints. We only completed a very short section of trail near the lake. BUT LOOK AT THAT SMUSHY LITTLE FACE!

*Ahem* Sorry. We hiked from the parking lot near the beach area along the trail towards the boat launch parking area.

The entrance to the trail from the beach area. The trails were wide, flat, and well mowed.

We enjoyed lovely views of the lake and a nice breeze while we walked.

Also big at this park; fishing!

The fish weren’t biting but we did discover that Moxxi (the puppy) loves water. While on the dock near the beach area, I walked back towards shore to take the turtle picture seen below. Moxxi, seeing me walk away, decided that jumping into the water and swimming to shore was a better path than walking along the dock. Now we know!


This park is wonderful and clearly popular. It was full of people on this early June day with many people at the campsites and on their boats. This park is a wonderful option for a daytrip or even a weekend camping adventure.

A pooped puppy is a sign of a great day.

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