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Enjoy Wisconsin State Parks In A New Light

Candlelight events offer a variety of options. Some have cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking. Others may just offer one activity. - Photo credit: DNR
Candlelight events offer a variety of options. Some have cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking. Others may just offer one activity. Wyalusing State Park offers hiking and snowshoeing and if the night is clear, astronomy viewing.Photo credit: DNR

Contact(s): Paul Holtan, DNR Communications Specialist, 608-267-7517
December 17, 2019

MADISON, Wis. - It's never too late to make candlelight events part of your annual tradition. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is excited to announce more than 40 candlelight events happening this winter at Wisconsin state parks, forests, recreation areas and trails.

"Winter candlelight events are some of the most popular activities at Wisconsin State Park System properties," said Ben Bergey, DNR State Park System director. "We have had candlelight skis and hikes during the last few winters that have attracted hundreds and even over a thousand visitors."

Candlelight events have become a long-standing tradition at state properties such as Pike Lake (Washington County) celebrating 31 years of candlelight events, 30 years at Newport State Park (Door County), and 28 years at the Flambeau River State Forest (Sawyer County).

Most events begin around sunset and run until 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m. Properties offer an array of activities from skiing, snowshoeing to hiking, and include bonfires and hot chocolate. Depending on the property, other refreshments may be available for sale. Some candlelight events even provide grills for cooking food or roasting marshmallows while some properties have warming shelters.

This winter's candlelight events kick off Jan. 4 at Blue Mound (Iowa County) and Mirror Lake (Sauk County) state parks. The largest number of events take place on Jan. 19, Feb. 2 and Feb. 9.

Due to high turnout and limited parking at Horicon Marsh Wildlife Area (Dodge County), shuttles are available from nearby businesses. Also expect large crowds at the Kettle Moraine State Forest - Lapham Peak Unit (Waukesha County). Visitors will need parking vouchers in advance for the Lapham Peak event, and carpooling is encouraged.

Many events offer fires and refreshments, like this one at the Flambeau RIver State Forest. - Photo credit: DNR
Many events offer fires and refreshments, like this one at the Flambeau RIver State Forest.Photo credit: DNR

View specific event details here. Stay up-to-date on event cancellations by following the DNR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Share your photos from the events using the hashtag #OutWiGo, the DNR's initiative to promote activity and good health through the great outdoors. Feel free to call properties directly to confirm the event if there is inclement weather in the forecast.

Note: Several candlelight events are organized by property Friends Groups, which provide much of the volunteer support.

Candlelight Events Calendar

Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020

Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020

Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020

Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020

Friday, Jan. 31, 2020

Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020

Friday, Feb. 7, 2020

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020

Friday, Feb. 21, 2020

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020

Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020

Saturday, March 14, 2020

  • Big Foot Beach State Park - Candlelight Hike
  • Last Revised: Tuesday, December 17, 2019

    Contact information

    Need an expert? Contact the Office of Communications.

    The Office of Communications connects journalists with DNR experts on a wide range of topics. For the fastest response, please email DNRPress@Wisconsin.gov and the first available Communications Specialist will respond to you.