University of Wisconsin’s Arboretum

Madison, Wisconsin 53725

University of Wisconsin’s Arboretum

University of Wisconsin’s Arboretum Professional Review and Guide

"Find the springs that feed Lake Wingra, visit the gardens, and explore the 1,200 acres of forest and prairie at the heart of the city.

The University of Wisconsin’s Arboretum is not your standard labeled garden. With more than 1,200 acres of restored wetlands, prairies, savannas, and woods, it is a remarkable
ecological preserve in the heart of a city. Most of this land was purchased in the Great Depression, and the Civilian Conservation Corps did much of the initial work to set it up."

More University of Wisconsin’s Arboretum Professional Reviews and Guides

"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."

"Explore environmental history on this hike through the world’s first restored prairie. Start at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum Visitor Center and skirt famed Curtis Prairie. You will then enter the Leopold Pines, named for the renowned naturalist who once worked at the University of Wisconsin.

Enjoy the hardwood forest of the Noe Woods, and pass by Curtis Pond. Walk along the south edge of Curtis Prairie before nearing wetlands and returning to the arboretum visitor center, worth a visit itself."

"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."

"This hike explores the northern parcel of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, near Lake Wingra. Leave the hiker trailhead, then explore some Indian effigy mounds. After that, take off in hilly woods, dropping to visit Big Spring and wetlands along the south shore of Lake Wingra.

Next, head into the forest of Gallistel Woods and the Lost City Forest. Visit Teal Pond, a watery wetland with a boardwalk. Just for contrast, the final part of the hike bisects Longenecker Gardens, where trees are planted by species and type."

"This hike explores the northern parcel of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, near Lake Wingra. Leave the hiker trailhead, then explore some Indian mounds. After that, take off in hilly woods, dropping to visit Big Spring and wetlands along the south shore of Lake Wingra. There are excellent bird-watching opportunities in the woods.

Next, head into the forest of Gallistel Woods and the Lost City Forest. Visit Teal Pond, a watery wetland with a boardwalk. Just for contrast, the final part of the hike bisects Longenecker Gardens, where trees are planted by species and type. Mosquitoes can be
troublesome on this hike."

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Trail Information

Madison
Nearby City
Various
Distance
Several options
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
Trails are open 7 a.m.–10 p.m., and parking is sunrise–sunset.
Season
890 feet
Trailhead Elevation
feet
Top Elevation
Local Contacts
USGS Madison West; maps in the wooden boxes at trailheads
Local Maps