On June 11, 2010 I drove north on I-90/94 to Devil’s Lake State Park to camp, hike, and rock climb in Baraboo, WI. The park is know for it Quartzite rock that rises out of the ground 500Ft. forming bluffs that surround Devil’s lake. The Winnebago Native Americans called the lake “Ta-wa-cun-chuck-dah” which translated correctly means Spirit Lake or Sacred Lake, but for the sake of attracting tourist the translation chosen was Devil’s Lake.
I recommend reserving a site months in advance of your planned date because the sites fill up quick, by clicking here. Even thought all the sites where booked, the group I was with lucked-out and got the last one of the site that cannot be reserved, Ice Age Campground Site #370. As always when camping I recommend purchasing two bundles of wood for every night that you decide to camp. The site with two vehicles, two tents, and six adults ran us about $67 dollars for a Friday to Sunday visit, and had a 3:30PM check out but didn’t mean we had to leave the park.
On Saturday, are first day out in the park looking at the Devils Lake Map we decided to do a lap around the lake, Hiking the bluffs and stopping at any spot we thought we might be able to boulder. We started in north shore and headed around Devil’s Lake in a clock wise manor on East Bluff Trail, stopping at Elephant Rock and just about every scenic out-cropping along the way. If your like me I got memorized by the beauty that Devil’s Lake State Park possesses and completely forgot about nabbing a Geocaches along the way. Eventually we made it to balanced rock and head to the South shore concessions for lunch and to cool off in the lake. After that reprieve we hopped on the boardwalk and headed to West Bluff Trail headed for camp .
The second day out was aimed at sight seeing, we saw Devil’s Doors and hiked the CCC Trail. The CCC was special to us because at camp after the first day of hiking I realized that the hardest trails we had hiked was medium. Which had me scratching my head if all the trails we did where Medium at best, “What was Difficult like?” Well the trail CCC Trail didn’t disappoint, but nothing that someone determined to climb it couldn’t do. Since we weren’t up for re-hiking trails and the second day out was also are last day there we drove to the place label “Group Camping” on the map right below the CCC Trail and parked in the parking-lot there. When we got there we found out that CCC stands for Civilian Conservation Corps which was part of the “New Deal” that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created to help poor families during the Great Depression. Enrollment was limited to boys 18 to 25 and they where treated in military fashion, Calisthenics at 6:15AM, Barracks Inspection at 7:00aM, and Lights-Out at 10:00PM to get and idea. Rain, Snow, Extreme Heat, or Extreme Cold these boys where out building the trails we hiked, moving and place every block of Quartzite rock.
One thing I wish I would have taken advantage of at Devil’s Lake is the Fishing Tackle and Forestry Pack. At the Nature center you can borrow either the fishing tackle or forestry pack for free, all that is required is an adult signature. The fishing tackle requires that anyone over the age of 16 have an fishing license. Devil’s Lake State Park claims that you can catch bluegill, crappie, perch, bass, walleye, northern pike and brown trout. The Forestry Pack is full of books, games, activities, magnifiers, measurement tools, collection boxes and a bird-calls. Both the Fishing Tackle and Forestry Pack are available for 24 hour check out.
If your like me and live south of the park, be sure to take Route 113 and take the ferry across, which is free.