Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
490.00 ft (149.35 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

This 2-mile loop takes hikers past two iconic quartzite rock formations: Balanced Rock and Devil’s Doorway.

This hike starts at the parking lot at the south shore beach area. Head north from the parking lot, and shortly after crossing railroad tracks you will begin a climb up the Balanced Rock Trail. Trails in the Upper Midwest generally don’t have a lot of steep elevation gain, but this trail is an exception. This trail gains about 500 feet of elevation in a mere two-fifths of a mile. The trail is mostly comprised of quartzite rocks positioned as steps. Be aware that these steps can be slippery, especially when wet. The climb up provides beautiful views of the lake and valley below. About two thirds of the way up the trail you will find Balanced Rock off to the right. It is easy to miss. The end of the Balanced Rock Trail meets up with the East Bluff Trail.

Head east onto East Bluff Trail, where you'll find some nice vistas. After a short hike you will find the Devil’s Doorway loop, a very short spur trail that brings you to the Devil’s Doorway formation. Spend some time here to take in the views. Once back on the East Bluff Trail, continue to head east. For a shorter hike, take the challenging 0.3-mile Potholes Trail that descends the bluff using another rocky staircase. Look for erosion potholes (depressions in the rocks) on your way down.

For a longer hike, continue along the East Bluff Trail to the East Rampart, which is the largest and most popular rock climbing area at the park. Here you descend the 0.3-mile CCC Trail. The CCC trail descends the bluff along a more wooded, but still steep, trail. Both trails connect with the 0.7-mile Grottos Trail at the base of the bluff, which leads back through the woods to the south shore.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

Park entrance fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Great vistas and unique rock formations.

Cons

Very crowded in the summer.

Trailhead Elevation

955.00 ft (291.08 m)

Highest point

1,445.00 ft (440.44 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Big vistas
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.