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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lotsa Rocks at Devil's Lake

After checking in at park headquarters I asked which way to the Ice Age Trail, of course.  Turned out I could walk to it from the parking lot so I strapped on my gear and trotted off eagerly.

I got sidetracked by the sign for the Tumbled Rocks Trail which goes from one end of the lake to the other.

  I went in about 1/2 mile and then turned back around.

The rocks are pieces of Baraboo quartzite which is so erosion resistant it is the foundation of the surrounding Baraboo Hills region.  If you've ever driven through the Baraboo/Wisconsin Dells area you'll know what I'm talking about, the hills are lovely especially in summer and fall.

Devil's Lake is most likely the result of river erosion by the Wisconsin River and then when the glaciers advanced and receded the ends got blocked off thus forming the lake.  The quartzite is mostly a deep purple color, some of more in the red range, but from a distance is looks blue-grey because most of it is covered in lichens!

I headed uphill to the Ice Age Trail where it crossed the road coming in to the park and began the 500 foot ascent up the west bluff.  Hikers be prepared for lots of stone steps!  My legs were shaking by the time I got to the top.

To me, worse than the steps is the asphalt that was in some spots on the slope and stretched along the top.  It was uneven, hard on the soles of the feet, and on the inclines incredibly painful to my achilles' tendons.  When I tried to descend the other side of the bluff it had more asphalt on a steeper grade so I only went about halfway down before turning around again.

However, the views from the top are outstanding, even without fall color.

Devil's Lake beach with the lake still partially frozen

The area is probably rich with spring wildflowers in another month, but getting there before spring's arrival means I had unimpeded views for most of the hike.

With all my detouring and backtracking I figured I got about 4 miles in before going back to set up my tent at my site.  Not too bad for someone who had barely left the couch in the previous 4 days!

The next day I conquered the other side of the lake, more on that tomorrow.


  1. I love it there and they have some of my favorite hiking trails. We were there last October.

  2. I have such memories of Devil's Lake when I was in high school. Thanks for the return visit.

  3. I remember Devil's Lake from a trip through Wisconsin about three decades ago!

  4. That looks like a lovely lake side trail. I'm with you on hating asphalt on trails. But those views were really beautiful. How cold will it be in your tent tonight??

  5. Nice views! That's why I'm always climbing up something.

  6. Looks like a great hike. Wonder how it would be with knee issues....

  7. Your views of the lake are gorgeous! I can feel the peacefulness of the area:) It is a nice time of the year to hit the trails in the eastern half of the US before the trees are all out and block many views. Love the shot you got of yourself climbing the rocks:)