Swan Lake State Wildlife Area

Portage, Wisconsin

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Explore an overgrown trail along a dike through wetlands to an island of oak savanna surrounded by pockets of marsh and open water. Waterfowl and migratory birds abound. The difficulty here is not one of inclines but of not always being able to see the trail and, in some cases, having to blaze it yourself through general boundaries. There are a couple of features that will discourage the casual walker: overgrown trails, some with plants with burrs or spines; a potential walk through ankle-deep water for a few feet during wet seasons; and in some cases, lack of any real trail at all. These challenges, however, are part of the attraction. Even the short boardwalk is often camouflaged by all the grasses and wildflowers growing up between the planks, but this gives the hiker a feeling of walking not on water but at least on marshland.
60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Madison

DESCRIPTION FROM:

60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Madison

by Kevin Revolinksi (Menasha Ridge Press)

Explore an overgrown trail along a dike through wetlands to an island of oak savanna surrounded by pockets of marsh and open water. Waterfowl and migratory birds abound.

The difficulty here is not one of inclines but of not always being able to see the trail and, in some cases, having to blaze it yourself through general boundaries. There are a couple of features that will discourage the casual walker: overgrown trails, some with plants with burrs or spines; a potential walk through ankle-deep water for a few feet during wet seasons; and in some cases, lack of any real trail at all. These challenges, however, are part of the attraction. Even the short boardwalk is often camouflaged by all the grasses and wildflowers growing up between the planks, but this gives the hiker a feeling of walking not on water but at least on marshland.

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

Activity Type: Birding, Hiking
Nearby City: Portage
Distance: 3.8
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 2 hours
Best Times: Year-round 5 a.m.–10 p.m.
Trailhead Elevation: 810 feet
Top Elevation: feet
Local Contacts: dnr.wi.gov/topic/lands/wild- lifeareas/swanlake.html
Local Maps: USGS Portage; dnr.state.wi.us
Driving Directions: Directions to Swan Lake State Wildlife Area

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May 2018