Governor Nelson State Park

Middleton, Wisconsin

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Explore forest, prairie, savanna, and marshes on the north side of Lake Mendota and take a swim at the beach afterward with a view of the city across the water. Former Wisconsin Governor and U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson is perhaps best known as the founder of Earth Day. A passionate environmentalist, he also helped establish the Apostle Islands as a national lakeshore. This 422-acre state park that bears his name sits across the lake from Madison and is easily accessible. There are several separate trails throughout the park and, in total, there are 8.4 miles. The selected course starts with the Woodland Trail and takes you through each of the ecological areas. From the northwest corner of the overflow lot, find a map board with nature guides.

Governor Nelson State Park Professional Review and Guide

"Explore forest, prairie, savanna, and marshes on the north side of Lake Mendota and take a swim at the beach afterward with a view of the city across the water. Former Wisconsin Governor and U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson is perhaps best known as the founder of Earth Day. A passionate environmentalist, he also helped establish the Apostle Islands as a national lakeshore.

This 422-acre state park that bears his name sits across the lake from Madison and is easily accessible. There are several separate trails throughout the park and, in total, there are 8.4 miles. The selected course starts with the Woodland Trail and takes you through each of the ecological areas. From the northwest corner of the overflow lot, find a map board with
nature guides."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Middleton
Distance: 3.9
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy to Moderate
Duration: 2 hours
Season: 6 a.m.–11 p.m. year-round
Trailhead Elevation: 900 feet
Top Elevation: feet
Accessibility: Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible
Local Contacts: dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/govnelson, 608-831-3005
Local Maps: USGS Waunakee; at trailheads and park office
Driving Directions: Directions to Governor Nelson State Park

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May 2018