Hiking Project Logo

Devil's Lake Loop

 12 votes

6.2 Miles 9.9 Kilometers



1,096' 334 m


-1,094' -334 m


1,485' 453 m


963' 294 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (15°)

All Clear

63 days agoUpdate

A difficult loop with terrain challenges and views that reward the effort.

Chris Rozoff


The viewpoints and the steep terrain make for quality over quantity in terms of distance.
Features: Birding — Cave — Fall Colors — Lake — Swimming — Views — Wildlife
Dogs: Leashed

Need to Know

Make sure you have a WI State Park sticker or pay a day use fee to use this parking lot/state park trails.

There are also portions of this loop where the park trails overlap with the much longer Ice Age Trail: Devil's Lake Segment. Signs denote the park name, and the yellow blazes highlight the portions that are the Ice Age Trail. Each trail is well marked, so it is difficult to get lost.


From the Devil's Lake South Parking Lot, the route starts out on pavement and is deceptively flat and easy. The trail then travels along the lake on a well-worn path, before visitors will need to follow alongside the state park road for a short while.

However, before long, you are headed up the West Bluff Trail (which overlaps part of the Ice Age Trail. This trail is signed with the park name, but also the yellow blazes of the Ice Age Trail). The trail is a bit peculiar. While it's singletrack, it's paved, but it is just as good as any solid dirt path. This West Bluff climb begins as a steep and seemingly relentless one. But by the time you're almost out of breath, you're looking over Devil's Lake with a rewarding view. The trail then continues along the West Bluff with more views, before a relatively steep descent into the northern side of the park.

Once again, you'll end up near a parking lot with plenty of state park buildings/bathrooms/picnic/beach areas. Continue east toward the East Bluff Trail, which is overlapped by the Ice Age Trail: Devil's Lake Segment as well. This East Bluff Trail starts out on a relatively wide gravel path, but the East Bluff Trail eventually veers hard to the right in a fork in the trail. Once again, this section offers some fun hiking, as the climb is long and sometimes steep. And again, you get great lake views, along with some cool rock formations, once you get to the top. Continue forward and eventually veer left once you get to the south region of Devil's Lake.

Take the Ice Age Trail east along the East Bluff (with the dry basin to your right). You are looking for the CCC Trail to descend. Once you find CCC, head south. This trail is the most technical part of the route, where some scrambling is required. The boulder field here resembles a lot of the boulder fields you see out in the Rocky Mountains.

Once you get to the bottom, continue west along the Grottos Trail, across some railroad tracks and back to your starting point. From there, if you want more mileage, do the loop in reverse or follow it again in the same direction. Whether it's one loop or more, you'll definitely get your money's worth and get those calves and hamstrings burning!


Land Manager: Wisconsin State Parks

Rate Featured Hike

   Clear Rating

4.4 from 12 votes

Get On-Trail Navigation

Send to Phone
Your Check-Ins


Sep 3, 2017
Star Adsila
Aug 5, 2017
A&M Hiking
Jul 15, 2017
Zac Hoogeveen
Jun 24, 2017
Da We
Jun 8, 2017
Dan Smith
Heavy pack and clothes on a hot day. Good fun 6.2mi
May 27, 2017
Rajiv Annapragada
Oct 23, 2016
Declan Smith
Oct 1, 2016
Nick Ferry
it was a cold wet day. We took the bluff trail on the west bluff side. 6.2mi

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 12 votes


  4.4 from 12 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star


in Wisconsin


175 Views Last Month
3,671 Since Dec 18, 2015
Intermediate Intermediate



All Clear 63 days ago

Getting forecast...

nice submission. added to my "to do" Apr 28, 2016

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking