A pinhole photograph of Balanced Rock on a Devil’s Lake hike.
East Bluff in Devil’s Lake State Park near Baraboo has to be one of the most popular and well traveled portions of the Ice Age Trail. Early Spring is the best time to visit to avoid the crowds of summer. I also tried a unique way of experiencing this popular spot by taking a less traveled route to get there.
A lesser traveled Devil’s Lake hike
My friend and fellow nature photographer Mike Murray and I recently did a 4.5 mile hike on the Ice Age Trail in Devil’s Lake State Park. We started in Roznos Meadow parking lot on the very eastern edge of Devil’s Lake after parking our car at our destination, the South Shore parking lot. I rode my bike back to our starting point, the Roznos Meadow lot via South Lake Road. It’s a pretty easy 3 mile ride that is mostly downhill. Only the first quarter mile is an uphill climb. South Lake Road was pretty quiet traffic and there is only a short stretch on 113 so traffic was minimal.
The 4.5 mile route of the Ice Age Trail with a bike shuttle on South Lake Road.
From the Roznos Meadow trailhead, the Ice Age Trail crosses the prairie with a nice view of the surrounding bluffs and starts up the East bluff from the far East side. On the other side of the Meadow it’s a nice meandering uphill trail through the woods getting you to the top of the bluff gradually. It’s a steady two mile uphill rather than the brutal hike up the rocky 500 foot vertical bluff most people take to the top from the South Lake Parking area.
This longer route makes for a more compete hike that gets you to the top in a more relaxed, less crowded enjoyable hike. There is even some solitude in the meadow and woods leading up to the top of the bluff. From the top of the bluff you descend the steep and rocky trail to the South Lake area instead of trudging up it like most people do. Don’t forget to stop and see the Balanced Rock on the way down. It’s about halfway down the trail to the lake. (see the top pinhole photograph)
*After The Hike*
Lunch- The Little Village Cafe is just that, a small town diner in Baraboo that probably hasn’t changed much in decades. I always look for an excuse to stop for lunch when I’m in the area. It’s located right on the downtown Square.
Explore Baraboo- Baraboo is one of my favorite small towns in Wisconsin. If you still have the energy after the hike explore some of the great antique shops or get a tour of the historic the Al Ringling Theatre. The antique shops and theatre are all within a few blocks of the Little Village Cafe.