by Eric Hansen, revised by Kevin Revolinski (Falcon Guides)
© 2016 Eric Hansen, revised by Kevin Revolinski/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
I can't express how glad I am that I finally found some more challenging terrain within a four-hour drive of Chicago--Devil's Lake has stone staircases and even real talus for the more adventurous off-trail hiker. I confess that we did not do this entire hike, although I was certainly in the mood that day. Instead, after hiking southbound on the East Bluff trail as described, we made a clockwise circle using the Potholes "trail" (i.e. a set of steep stone steps next to the field of real talus I was just gushing about), the Grottos trail, and finally climbing the Balanced Rock trail to reconnect with East Bluff. The day after, we attempted to "summit" Sauk Point, the highest point in Sauk County, starting at the Parfrey's Glen trailhead. However, a GPS postmortem of our epic journey revealed that we had missed the peak itself. I forgot my topo map, of course... ;-) Like another reviewer, I was surprised that Devil's Lake trails are paved. I'm sure this helps maintain this high traffic area in good condition, but I was looking for adventure. And adventure means dirt. And sometimes even mud. (But not very often.)
This was a great day hike- did round trip from Devil's Lake campground to Parfrey's Glen. The glen is really beautiful- but had no waterfalls like the camp map had promised. Also, the trails can be confusing as there are many intertwined around the campground and one wrong turn can put you on a couple mile detour (like it did for me). All in all, great leisurely day hike.
Trails were pretty manicured. Was not the rugged, outback experience I was looking for but would be a great place to take the kids for the afternoon. Also a lot of people after early morning. We started early and was finishing as the masses hit the trails. I suggest going on off times or during weekdays if possible.
We did this trip in reverse, and it was quite a slog, but well worth it. The snow was mostly packed down, but some post-holing was involved. The first mile or so coming up out of Parfrey's Glen is totally demoraliazing, but the hike becomes much easier after that.
I took a wrong turn at the beginning and ended up hiking almost an hour on a road before I realized what I'd done. Devil's Lake and the glen (beginning and end ) were beautiful, but the trail was basically not interesting. Lots of rocks, roots, and buggy. I wouldn't do it again.
Sign in/up to upload photos.