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- Devil's Lake State Park
S5975 Park Rd.
Baraboo, WI 53913-9299
Devil's Lake State Park Current conditions
Conditions as of Thursday, February 4, 2016:
Winter at Devil's Lake
The scenery is spectacular and the hordes of summer visitors are not here. It’s a great time to check out the beauty of Devil’s Lake State Park. Anglers are fishing, snowshoers are exploring, cross-country skiers are gliding along and campers are out camping.
Campers, really? As you look out your window and ponder the falling snow, there are just a few others who are doing the same thing, but with very different plans in mind. Each time we get a significant snowfall (or better yet, a real “dump” of snow with blizzard conditions) there are a few hardy souls who dash to the Devil’s Lake campground to embrace the challenge and revel in a winter camping trip. During the past 15 years there have been only two or three weekends — year-round — without any campers in the park.
The park is open every day of the year from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
There will be a candlelight snowshoe event on Saturday, February 20, 2016.
During the winter, trails will often be snow-covered or icy, so trails are not recommended for winter hiking; however, trails are not officially closed, so use your own judgment about exploring the trails. Hikers may not hike on the cross-country ski trails when trails are snow covered.
Snowshoeing has been increasing greatly in popularity in the last few years. At Devil's Lake, you may snowshoe on any trails except the cross-country ski trails. The popular bluff trails near the lake are steep and stepped in places, and are not ideal for snowshoeing. You might try the Roznos Meadow, Grottoes, Sauk Point, East Bluff Woods and Uplands Loop trails for snowshoeing.
The Nature Center has snowshoes for free loan on days when the Nature Center is open.
There are about 6 miles of cross-country ski trails in the park. Most skiers start from the Steinke Basin parking lot. Trails are not rigorously groomed, but are usually packed and/or tracked after significant snowfalls and before weekends.
The park received about 5 inches of snow on February 2, and a couple more inches on February 3. The ski trails are packed and some are tracked.
Ski trail conditions are usually updated on the park's phone message at 608-356-8301 and on the Wisconsin Snow Report. Pets are not allowed on ski trails.
At Devil's Lake, ice fishing is moderately popular. Anglers catch northern pike, brown trout and other fish during the winter. Park staff members do not monitor the lake ice condition, thickness or safety; conditions can change from place to place and from day to day. You must use your own judgment in deciding about venturing onto the frozen surface of the lake.
The lake surface is frozen, but with the late freeze-over date of January 11, anglers are out, but using extra caution.
Quartzite Campground remains open throughout the offseason. About a dozen campsites are plowed and available even during the winter. Electricity is available.
Water facilities are turned off for the season. This includes RV dump/fill stations, water taps and running water restrooms and showers. The only running water restrooms will be open at the north shore headquarters and Visitor Center along with winterized water taps at both the Group Camp and in the Quartzite Campground.
The Nature Center is usually open on Thursdays and Fridays from Noon to 4 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (depending on staff availability and school group schedules). If a visit to the Nature Center is crucial for you on a given day, please call ahead to confirm open hours for that day, at 608-356-8301 ext. 140.
The North Shore Chateau, Ice Age Camp Store and South Shore Concessions are closed until next spring.
One of our last major projects for 2015, to reconstruct a beach wall along the north shore, has stopped during winter, but will continue in spring. The scope of the project, including planned access paths and a new sand blanket covering the majority of the existing beach, will stretch from the west side of the Chateau to the existing quartzite rip-rap just west of the Sugar Maple shelter.
This section of beach will be closed to visitors during construction. All existing paved walkways will still be accessible and no construction equipment will be operated on the weekends. Lake access will remain on the east side of the Chateau and on the entire south beach area.
Devil's Lake State Park is open every day of the year from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. The north shore Visitor Center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Park maps are available at the main north and south shore entrance stations. Self-pay stations (cash or check only) are available for use at five locations in the park.
Visitors may purchase vehicle admission stickers at the park office or at a self-pay station in the park (check or cash). If you purchase an annual pass, it will be mailed to you so write legibly and fill out the information completely. The 2016 annual stickers are valid through Dec. 31, 2016.