Swan Lake State Wildlife Area

Portage, Wisconsin 53901

Swan Lake State Wildlife Area

Swan Lake State Wildlife Area Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"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."

More Swan Lake State Wildlife Area Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Hikes Madison Wisconsin - 2nd Edition (Falcon Guides)
Johnny Molloy
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"This adventurous hike goes through rugged terrain, including some stretches of standing water on the path that may leave quite a bit of mud on the cuffs of your hiking pants. (Be sure to wear them!) However, those who brave this path in a state wildlife area are in for a treat. At the halfway point the path snakes through thick grass to the banks of the Fox River, an isolated and wild spot that is perfect for spotting any number of waterfowl. Snakes and frogs are also common in the wetlands that dominate along this hike. It’s possible to stop and sit for an hour or more just watching the different wildlife along the low pools thick with vegetation. Pack a lunch and make a morning or afternoon of it."

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
2 hours
Year-round 5 a.m.–10 p.m.
Best Times
810 feet
Trailhead Elevation
Top Elevation
Hunting, Birding
Additional Use
USGS Portage; dnr.state.wi.us
Local Maps