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NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 579 days

More than 30 candlelight events scheduled this winter at Wisconsin state parks, forests and trails

Published by Central Office December 20, 2016

Contact(s): Paul Holtan, office of communications, 608-267-7517

[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release has been updated to correct that Mirror Lake State Park will hold a candlelight event on February 4 and to list cancelations and rescheduled events. A candlelight ski has been added on Jan. 28 at the Lapham Peak Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, but is limited to 450 vehicles that must pick up a parking voucher prior to the event. A candlelight ski and snowshoe has been added for Feb. 4 at Copper Falls State Park.  A candlelight hike at Yellowstone Lake State Park and an urban candlelight hike at the Hank Aaron State Trail have been added on Feb. 25 . A candlelight hike has been added for Copper Culture State Park on March 11.]

MADISON - Early snowfall that has covered all of Wisconsin, combined with cold temperatures in the forecast to keep the snow around, should create good conditions for the 30 candlelight events planned this winter at Wisconsin state parks, forests, recreation areas and trails.

More than 30 DNR properties will hold candlelight events this winter.  This image is from a candlelight ski last year at the Pike Lake Unit of the Kettle Morain State Forest.
More than 30 DNR properties will hold candlelight events this winter. This image is from a candlelight ski last year at the Pike Lake Unit of the Kettle Morain State Forest.
Photo Credit: DNR

"Most properties are reporting that they are already packing ski trails, and with a bit more snow most will also be able to set tracks for cross-country skiing," said Paul Holtan, communications specialist for the state parks program.

This winter's candlelight events kick off January 7 at Blue Mound State Park west of Madison, Mirror Lake State Park southeast of Lake Delton and Wildcat Mountain State Park near Ontario, and run on weekends through February 18.

Skiing, snowshoeing and hiking by candlelight have become some of the most popular winter events at Department of Natural Resources properties, with some events attracting more than a thousand visitors. Last year a candlelight event at the Lapham Peak Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest attracted so many visitors that all of the available parking at the property filled and entrance gates to the property had to be closed, causing backups and traffic problems.

A candlelight event at Horicon Marsh has become so popular that the Friends of Horicon Marsh Visitor and Education Center has set up shuttle busses running from Mayville and Horicon between 4:30-9:30 p.m. and is encouraging visitors to use them as parking at the facility is limited.

"We encourage people to plan ahead and to consider attending a candlelight event at a property they may not have visited in the past. Also this year we plan to use the DNR Twitter  social media platform to provide current information about specific events," Holtan said.

Some properties offer skiing, snowshoeing and hiking, while others offer just skiing or just snowshoeing and hiking. Most events begin around sunset and run until 8:30 or 9 p.m. 

Many of the events include additional activities such as bonfires, and hot chocolate and other refreshments may be available for sale. Some events offer grills for cooking food or roasting marshmallows. Some properties have warming shelters that are open for the events. Many of the events are organized by the friends groups of the parks, which provide much of the volunteer labor for the events.

People can check on the details of each event by going to the Department of Natural Resources website,, and searching keyword "candlelight." For more information on park or forest properties and locations, search for keywords "find a park." Regular park and trail fees apply for the events unless otherwise noted.

While most events will not be cancelled due to lack of snow, they still could be cancelled if conditions are icy, extremely cold or have severe wind chills, so people are encouraged to check the website, follow the DNR Twitter feed, or call properties directly to confirm the event will be held if threatening weather is in the forecast.

2017 Wisconsin State Park Winter Candlelight Events

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Friday, January 27, 2017

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Last Revised: Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications