60 Hikes within 60 Miles Madison  by Kevin Revolinksi

60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Madison Guide Book

by Kevin Revolinksi (Menasha Ridge Press)
60 Hikes within 60 Miles Madison  by Kevin Revolinksi
Madison and the surrounding area is surprising cornucopia of great hiking destinations, many of which fly right under the radar. Avid hikers will find 60 detailed hikes, more than any other area guidebook, with a wide variety of terrain and skill level. This is a new edition of what has already become the definitive Madison trekking guide by author Kevin Revolinski.

© 2015 Kevin Revolinksi/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Madison" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 60.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 60.

Hike this southernmost portion of the Arboretum and explore oak savanna, pine forest, and one of the finest prairie restorations there is to see. The centerpiece of this portion of the 1,260-acre University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum is Greene Prairie, named for Henry Greene, a UW botanist who, during the 1940s and 1950s, did almost all of the restoration himself, returning what was once farmland to its original role in the landscape. But the towering pines and oak savanna are no less impressive, and this hike offers a nice mix of all of them. Take a map from the wooden box at the gate in the parking lot, and then take the packed dirt trail to the left straight into the trees. This first segment takes you through Evjue Pine Forest, parallel to the Beltline Highway, down a lane carpeted with pine needles.
Madison, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.6
Step from the sidewalk in a popular west side neighborhood onto a trail through the marsh and forest along Lake Wingra’s northwest shore. The Arboretum is made up of 1,200 acres of preserved land and, combined with Vilas Park, almost completely encompasses Lake Wingra. It all looks very pristine and natural, so it is hard to believe that this was all once farmland. Much of the land was purchased during the Great Depression, and, with the help of Civilian Conservation Corps workers and ecologists such as Aldo Leopold, it was set on the path to become the astounding restoration of prairie, forests, and wetlands that we see today. This segment that curls around the northwestern shore of the lake is an easily accessible hike that never strays far from a busy street and yet offers as much natural beauty as the heart of the park.
Madison, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
Climb earthen pyramids at a grassy archaeological site along the Crawfish River and learn about an advanced Native American culture that left as much mystery as artifacts. Thought you’d need to go to Egypt or Central America for pyramids? Think again. Two earthen step pyramids and the artifacts and evidence gathered here indicate this was an important site for a mysterious American Indian people. There are remains of other temple-mound towns in the United States, but this is the farthest north of them all.
Jefferson, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.8
Hike the highlights of southern Wisconsin’s latest and arguably greatest rails-to-trails effort as it passes along the line between glaciated and unglaciated terrain, plunges into the dark of a long tunnel, and crosses the Sugar River. Badgers are burrowing creatures, so when European immigrant miners came to south-western Wisconsin—then a territory—for the lead-mining boom in the early 1800s, the seeds were laid for the state’s nickname, the Badger State. This hike might make a badger out of you as well because it passes through a 1,200-foot tunnel through an unglaciated hill. The Badger State Trail was inaugurated in July 2007 and is a fantastic conversion of rail bed that connects Madison to the Illinois state border and that state’s trail system. If you like the hike, come back with your bike and take it from where it begins in Madison, connected as it is to the Capital City State Trail and Southwest Path.
Belleville, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 18
The woods are thick, the prairies are full of flowers, and the overlooks show the hilly landscape of the Wisconsin River valley. A spot so beautiful also witnessed a sad bit of history. Black Hawk, a Sauk warrior, led 60 warriors against 700 militia at the Battle of Wisconsin Heights. Look out over the Wisconsin River valley from several scenic overlooks as you hike through restored prairies and rich forests with ravines. This is the land where warrior Black Hawk once turned to face the pursuing U.S. Army and militia to buy his people time to escape across the river.
Prairie du Chien, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.5
This is the highest point in southern Wisconsin and a brilliant collection of trails ranging from easy woodland portions to more demanding but scenic detours into uneven terrain along a woodland spring creek. The geology of the park and the views to the faraway horizon are competing stars here. Check out the observation tower first for an amazing view of sometimes more than 50 miles. The hike begins to the left of the tower, as you approach it, on Flint Rock Trail. A crushed-rock path with wood-beam steps descends through scattered rocks and boulders and zigzags through mixed forest.
Blue Mounds, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.6
The dikes through these two lakes are great for birders, and the trails continue beyond, following a spring creek through woodlands and then crossing prairie and farmland.
Browntown, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.2
A pleasant path through pine and oak forest also takes you on a loop of marvelous prairie restoration and then along the Koshkonong Creek, where it meanders through the wetlands of what was once the Rockdale Millpond. There are actually three separate parks under the name of CamRock, so be sure you have gone to Area 2. You can view the path on a map board at the trailhead. Enter the woods under a sign across the trail; at the first fork, go left, following the arrow on a trail sign. The trail follows the direction of the park road deeper into the park, and within just 400 feet, you pass under a large oak and enter open prairie with a vast number of restored prairie flowers.
Cambridge, WI - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
This popular multiuse trail on smooth asphalt takes you from the east side to the west side of Madison via wetlands, prairie, and a long greenway tucked into a residential area. The trail starts out through prairie. At 0.3 mile, you pass a park bench and some picnic tables just after that as the trail winds 0.2 mile through oak forest. Beyond that, the prairie of the Lewis Nine Springs E-Way is to your right and chock-full of wildflowers, including bergamot, coneflowers, Queen Anne’s lace, and black-eyed Susans.
Madison, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 8
Find many species of birds along trails through prairie and boardwalks through the wetlands at this rich marsh along the Yahara River just north of Lake Mendota.
Madison, WI - Birding,Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Snowshoeing - Trail Length: 2
Cross open fields and wetlands and hike up and down small hills in oak forest as you find viewpoints along this trail through the lower portion of Cherokee Marsh along the Yahara River.
Madison, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
Forget the StairMaster, this is a natural workout with a view. Climb to the top of a towering bluff overlooking Devil’s Lake and then explore the woods and prairie beyond.
Baraboo, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.6
No less impressive than its sister bluff across the lake, this rocky outcropping offers a stroll along the lakeshore through talus and a series of overlooks 500 feet above the water. Devil’s Lake might be a river, if not for a glacier’s intrusion about 15,000 years ago. The two bluffs seen today are two of the most ancient rock outcrops in North America. Estimated to be about 1.6 billion years old, they are made of quartzite, a metamorphic rock formed from grains of sand cemented in a nonporous fashion—unlike sandstone, which is porous.
Baraboo, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.7
Two good trout streams cross the prairie, and at the edges of the oak-forest hills, you find apple trees and wildflowers. The trail follows flowing water and then straddles a ridge with rock outcrops. The Donald/Woodburn family donated the original 105 acres of this park to Dane County. The park has since grown to 480 acres and added a nice picnic area called Pop’s Knoll, where a shelter and a couple of fire pits rest amid oak savanna. Deer Creek and Fryes Feeder, two trout streams, run through the park, crossing prairie and farmland, and the wooded portion of the park climbs a nearby ridge. From the parking lot, go to a service gate in the corner to pick up the trail.
Verona, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.5
The frogs take up the chorus and the birds have the melody at this symphonic wetland and forest nature preserve that abuts the Aldo Leopold Nature Center and Woodland Park, popular for school field trips and a goldmine for bird-watchers in the city.
Madison, WI - Birding,Hiking,Snowshoeing - Trail Length: 3.1
Follow a prairie loop atop a hill overlooking Madison and then explore the woods where an excellent disc-golf course is tucked in among the trees.
Madison, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
The climb to this extraordinary lookout over the Wisconsin River valley will take your breath away in more ways than one. This region of Wisconsin is a geologist’s dream. From the sandstone of the Cambrian period to the carving work of the glaciers, there is a whole glossary of land features. Gibraltar Rock is a sandstone bluff that rises up out of the earth like a fallen asteroid, and if you aren’t ready to exert yourself a bit, this might not be your first hiking choice. Gibraltar Rock is an outlier from the Black River Escarpment. At one time, it must have been attached and then became isolated by erosion. There are others in the area, but this is the highest. A preservation group called Friends of Our Native Landscape made this park their first project.
Lodi, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8
Cross the Crawfish and Rock Rivers and get a close look at a glacial drumlin on this converted rail bed that offers a mostly shaded path through rich farmland.
Lake Mills, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 13.2
Visit a waterfall in a canyon and a cave in the bluffs, and cross hill and vale along Twin Valley Lake before returning through a canyon full of trees and a creek.
Dodgeville, WI - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 8.8
Hike the shores and climb the rocky bluffs overlooking Cox Hollow Lake. Then visit a prehistoric rock shelter. From the trailhead, pass to the right of the concessions stand and a trail kiosk. Go straight ahead downhill just 400 feet to where the water flows over the dam to the right. Cross a wide wooden bridge to see the water tumbling over rocks to your left. Either follow the asphalt path straight across or, better yet, climb the earthen dam to your right and follow along the top of it as it skirts Cox Hollow Lake. There are no natural lakes in the south-eastern corner of the state, known as the Driftless Zone; the glaciers didn’t arrive here to leave damming deposits in river valleys. To the right, you can see rocky cliffs on the other side of the lake.
Dodgeville, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.3