Those who have had the pleasure of visiting Devil's Lake State Park can attest to why it’s one of the most popular state parks in Wisconsin. With activities for the whole family, Devil’s Lake State Park should definitely be on your to-do list while in the Midwest.
One of the more popular activities in Devil’s Lake State Park is rock climbing. The park is a destination spot for any climber, boasting over 1,600 established climbing routes and bouldering problems of varying grades to choose from.
The rock bluffs and cliffs were originally sandstone and then formed into quartzite over time as they were exposed to elements and glacial events. Interestingly enough, many of the fun climbing rock structures were formed when water froze and expanded within the cracks of the quartzite, breaking off large chunks of the rock. While climbing areas and routes are usually occupied during prime climbing time, most climbers are more than happy to share the rock with others. Rock climbing instructional groups often travel from Chicago, Illinois, and Madison, Wisconsin, to teach outdoor climbing classes at the park, including both beginning classes for new climbers and advanced classes for seasoned climbers.
The park also has 29 miles of hiking trails and 5 miles of mountain bike trails for visitors to enjoy. The hiking trails vary in difficulty from paved walkways that are accessible by both stroller and wheelchair to difficult hikes up steep rocky paths. A hike to the top of West Bluff Trail or Civilian Conservation Corps Trail is highly recommended to take in the scenic overlooks of Devils Lake and the surrounding area. Both Balanced Rock and Devils Doorway are popular spots for hikers to stop for a rest and take in both the scenery and the unique geological structures.
Visitors can cool down after their rock climbing, hiking, or biking adventures at either the south shore or north shore beach, enjoy a beverage from the concession stands, or relax with friends over a picnic. Both beach areas are well maintained with many picnic tables, grills, bathrooms, and potable water to utilize. In addition, both the north shore and south shore offer rental paddleboats, kayaks, and canoes. The park does have a specially adapted kayak available for rental for adventurers with disabilities. Pets are welcome throughout the park on the trails and in some sections of the beach and picnic areas, such as the pet swim area.
In the wintertime the park is a prime location for ice fishing, snowshoeing, dog sledding and cross-country skiing. Both snowshoes and ice fishing gear can be rented from the park office for those who do not have their own gear.
Visitors can camp at one of the more than 400 sites in the park to make the most out of their adventure weekend. The park offers both electric and non-electric campsites, a group campsite, and on-site showers for each campground. The campgrounds are often fully booked weeks in advance throughout the spring, summer, and fall, so planning prior to an adventure weekend is necessary if visitors wish to camp inside the park.