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Devils Lake State Park Activities and recreation

Hiking Hiking

There are 29 miles of trails in the park, ranging from easy strolls along a paved pathway along the lakeshore, to a rocky hiking ascent up the south face of the East Bluff. With several different trail segments, visitors can choose a hike of varying length that includes vistas, woods, meadows, glacial moraines, talus slopes and ridgetop backwoods.


Hiking the park trails in autumn.

The park has 1.5 miles of trail that are accessible for people with disabilities. These include Tumbled Rocks Trail (the roughly paved northern half may be accessible to strollers and wheelchairs with adventurous attendants), Grottoes Trail (fairly smooth and level with a fine gravel surface), a sidewalk and wooden boardwalk along the south shore of the lake and the paved pathways in both the north and south shore day use areas.

Pets must be on a leash 8 feet or shorter at all times.

Bicycling Bicycling

The park has four miles of off-road bike trails—the Upland Trail Loop. Trails open to bikers are so posted. A state trail pass is not required to use the mountain bike trails. Bicyclists must use caution and give hikers the right-of-way. There are no official paved road-bike trails in the park, although many people enjoy riding several miles on all the paved campground roads. Many of the roads in the park and surrounding areas are not biker friendly, since roads are often narrow, hilly and winding, with guardrails and narrow shoulders. A 2-mile paved bicycle trail extends from the park's north shore entrance to the city of Baraboo.

Rock Climbing Rock climbing

Many people rock climb and boulder at Devil's Lake but the park is not maintained for rock climbing; do it at your own risk. No permits are issued; particular areas or routes are not reservable. The park neither prohibits nor promotes rock climbing in the park. Climbers may encounter loose rocks. Every year there are some accidents and injuries, rarely involving trained and experienced climbers. Most accidents involve inexperienced people unfamiliar with standard safety precautions and those who have been using alcohol. Rock climbing instruction groups come to the park, but the park does not maintain information about these private businesses.

Camping Camping

Camping at Devil's Lake State Park

Picnicking Picnic Shelter Picnicking and shelters

There are major day use picnic areas on both the north and south shores of Devil's Lake. Each area has tables, drinking water (in season) and grills. Two enclosed shelters and other open air shelters are available for rental. Shelters at Devil's Lake State Park.

Boating Canoeing/Kayaking Boating, canoeing and kayaking


Kayaking at Devil's Lake.

Two no-fee boat landings are available at the park; on the north shore near the Chateau and along Park Road between the north and south shores.

Only electric motors are allowed. Boats and canoes may be rented at the park's concession areas. A specially adapted kayak is available for use by people with disabilities. Life preservers are required for each occupant in all boats, including rubber rafts.

Swimming Swimming

There are two beaches, one at each end of the lake, totaling 3,300 feet in length. Each beach has a bath house. Lifeguards are not provided.

Swimmer's itch is reported here almost every year. Signs will be posted near the swimming areas when the organisms that cause it are present. If you swim in Devil's Lake in early summer, rub briskly with a towel right after leaving the water. Showering may also help.

SCUBA Diving SCUBA diving

SCUBA diving is popular. Diving flags are required. Never dive alone.

Fishing Fishing

Many anglers come to the park for fishing either from the lake shore or by boat (electric motors only). The lake is home to brown trout, walleye and northern pike, bass and panfish. A fishing license is required for anyone age 16 or over and a trout stamp is required for trout fishing.

Anglers of any age may check out basic fishing equipment free of charge at the park office. This equipment was donated by the Tackle Loaner Program. Call the park office to find out what equipment is available.

Hunting Trapping Hunting and trapping

Hunting and trapping are allowed in the open areas of the park during the Wisconsin state parks hunting and trapping time frame. Trapping is not permitted in closed areas as noted on the park hunting map or within 100 yards of any designated use area, including trails. Certain trap types are restricted on state park properties. For more information, please see:

Winter Winter activities

Trails are not maintained for winter use but are not closed. Trails may be snow and ice covered, muddy and slippery during winter. When there is snow, the Steinke Basin Loop trail is periodically packed for easier travel - it is open to all non-motorized users, including skiers, hikers and snowshoers.

The lake freezes over for about three months each winter. Park staff does not monitor or measure the thickness of the ice on the lake's surface. Ice thickness can vary from day to day and from location to location.

In addition to skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing, visitors also enjoy dog sledding, building igloos, geocaching and orienteering courses. The Nature Center is open on some Saturdays in winter.

Cross-Country Skiing Cross-country skiing

Cross-country skier

Skiing at Devil's Lake State Park.
Photo by Gabriel Hesed

Skiers may travel anywhere in the park, though there are no groomed or tracked cross-country ski trails exclusively for skiers. The park does not rent or loan skis.

Snowshoeing Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is allowed anywhere in the park, though most of the bluff trails are hilly or have steps, and not ideal for snowshoeing. The Nature Center has snowshoes available for free loan on a first-come, first-served basis. Call first to confirm availability and open hours.

Ice Fishing Ice fishing

Ice fishing is popular at Devil’s Lake. In winter, savvy anglers catch brown trout, northern pike and other fish.

Last revised: Tuesday June 05 2018