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a Wisconsin state park, forest, recreation area or trail.
Camping opportunities
in state parks and forests.
How to buy
a vehicle admission sticker or state trail pass.
Get Outdoors!
to attend a nature program or event with family and friends.

Yellowstone Lake State Park Activities and recreation

The 4,000-acre Yellowstone Wildlife Area next to Yellowstone State Park offers many additional recreation opportunities, including horse trails and a shooting range. The wildlife area is managed by the DNR.

Hiking Hiking

Yellowstone Lake has more than 13 miles of hiking trails. Trails may vary in difficulty. Steep climbs or descents and stairways may be encountered. Use caution when on steep bluffs or near a cliff. Stay well away from cliffs which are not protected by a barricade or barrier. Stay behind barricades and barriers where provided and watch small children closely. The main trail head is located at the bottom of Campground Hill Road.

Biking Biking

Yellowstone Lake State Park provides four miles of off-road biking trails. The park roads and trails are heavily used, so bikers should always be alert to traffic and pedestrians.

Camping Camping

Camping at Yellowstone Lake State Park

Picnicking Shelters Playground Picnic areas and playgrounds

There are nine designated picnic areas. The picnic shelter is at the west end of the lake and is available for rental. These day use and picnic areas do not have garbage or recycling bins, so please remember to practice carry in, carry out.

Pets are not allowed in the picnic, beach or playground areas. There are designated pet areas west of the beach. Please remember that pets must be on a leash no longer than 8 feet.

Boat Launch Canoeing & Kayaking Boating, canoeing and kayaking

This 455-acre lake is shared by boats, kayaks, canoes, sailboats and other personal watercraft. There are two boat launching ramps and one canoe launch. A concession stand and boat rentals are located at the east end of the lake and are available during summer.

Swimming Swimming

Sunset on Lake
Boat, fish or swim on one of the few lakes in southwest Wisconsin.

Yellowstone Lake has a designated swimming beach and a bathhouse nearby. No lifeguards are on duty.

Fishing Fishing

Yellowstone Lake has an abundant population of crappies, walleye and other game fish. Fishing opportunities also exist for bass, bluegill, channel catfish, muskies and northern pike. The lake (including the Yellowstone River from the lake upstream to County Highway F) is open to fishing with the following regulations.

  • Walleye, sauger and their hybrids between 15 inches and 18 inches, channel and flathead catfish between 15 inches and 24 inches and largemouth and smallmouth bass between 12 inches and 15 inches may be kept with a daily combined bag limit of two fish in total.
  • Catch and release only on northern pike, muskellunge, their hybrids, gar and bowfin.

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 Activities Winter activities

There are five miles of trail that are groomed and tracked for cross-country skiing as conditions and staffing allow. A Wisconsin State Park trail pass is not required at Yellowstone Lake, but a vehicle admission sticker is needed.

There are seven miles of snowmobile trail within the park, which also connects with Lafayette County snowmobile trails. Wisconsin requires those who use snowmobile trails to display either a Wisconsin registration or a non-resident snowmobile trail pass.

The opening and closing of snowmobile trails is at the discretion of each county. Snowmobile trails which cross DNR lands are opened and closed consistent with the surrounding county (or counties). Whenever possible, the opening and closing of snowmobile trails is done on a county-wide basis, however localized conditions may require localized trail opening and closing. It is the responsibility of the county to provide notification about the status of snowmobile trails. The Travel Wisconsin Snow Conditions Report [exit DNR], and local club and county snowmobile web pages [exit DNR] and telephone hotlines will provide the most current information.

The park does not monitor ice conditions on the lake. Be extremely cautious of ice conditions at all times.

Last revised: Wednesday January 27 2016