Blue Mound State Park

(This post is a late post from summer 2016. The Ridgeview Trail has since reopened.)

Lately I’ve been noticing theme to my hiking – parks that are a short drive from Madison. I suppose that speaks to the fast pace of summer and the limited weekends available to commit to a full weekend trip. If only Wisconsin stayed warmer for a few more months!

25 miles west of Madison, Blue Mound State Park was the park of choice for a Monday hike when we decided to play hooky from work. In our air conditioned apartment, a hike sounded great. Hiking on one of the hottest and most humid days of the summer, not so great. Read More

Cherokee Marsh North Unit


While not a state park, this collection of land is such an easy day or partial day trip, it had to be represented on the blog. Managed by the City of Madison, the Cherokee Marsh is the largest wetland in Dane County. The marsh sits at the head of all the major Madison lakes. The marsh is broken into 3 units, the north unit, the south unit, and the Mendota unit. Read More

Governor Nelson State Park

Summertime in Madison is a beautiful thing. The city seems to come alive as it shakes the cold, death grip of winter. There always seems to be a sort of desperation in knowing that winter will return in a few short months, making residents feel the need to get the most out of the weather. If you want to make sure you are back in Madison by dark to enjoy the summer nightlife, (trust me, you do,) then a day hike from which you can still see downtown is perfect. Read More

Mirror Lake State Park

Love it or hate it, the Wisconsin Dells area is a staple of Wisconsin tourism. People from all over the world choose to visit the waterpark capital of the world every year. While I might not understand the reasoning behind having so many waterparks in a state that is too cold to open them for more than a few months each year, I do still appreciate them for what they are. Sliding down the Point of No Return is a fantastic mix of nostalgia and adrenaline, all ending in a mega-wedgie. (Which, as it turns out, is the very apt name of a slide in Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags Great America.) Read More

Perrot State Park

Along the Mississippi River, just outside of Trempealeau, WI, is Perrot State Park. Named after Nicholas Perrot, an early French explorer in the area, the park spans over 1270 acres of river, bluffs, and wetlands. The park offers a variety of activities for guests, including hiking, biking, camping, boating, fishing, hunting, and winter activities. Read More

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. Read More

Black River State Forest

Located in Jackson County, WI, Black River State Forest encompasses more than 67,000 acres. The forest has a typical array of activities to choose from, including ATV trails, biking, hiking, and camping. ATVing seems to be a very popular activity in the area, both inside and outside the forest. Like most state forests, the forest is split into several areas and requires driving between portions of the forest. As I experienced, this can be very confusing when trying to find campsites and trail heads. The Wisconsin DNR website has very detailed and helpful directions the take you right to the entrances. If you worry your phone will lose reception in the area, I recommend writing the directions down ahead of time. Read More