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Devil's Lake Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.5 (26) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


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Map Key

6.2

Miles

9.9

KM

Loop

1,484' 452 m

High

966' 294 m

Low

1,069' 326 m

Up

1,048' 320 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

51%

Max Grade (27°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Cave · Fall Colors · Lake · Swimming · Views · Wildlife

Overview

The viewpoints and the steep terrain make for quality over quantity in terms of distance.

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.

Description

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!

Contacts

Land Manager: Wisconsin State Parks

Shared By:

Chris Rozoff

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 26 votes

#348

Overall
  4.5 from 26 votes
5 Star
54%
4 Star
42%
3 Star
4%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Wisconsin

#348

Overall
252 Views Last Month
9,954 Since Dec 18, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Devil's Doorway
Sep 27, 2017 near Baraboo, WI
Gorgeous view on the West Bluff at Devil's Lake, as seen from the Ice Age Trail.
Dec 20, 2015 near Baraboo, WI
Looking east from the East Bluff Trail
Sep 27, 2017 near Baraboo, WI
Overseeing Devils Lake, Wisconsin.
Dec 31, 2016 near Baraboo, WI
A view of the lake and the East Bluff near sunset.
Sep 27, 2017 near Baraboo, WI
Panoramic of Devil's Lake on a rainy day.
Dec 18, 2015 near Baraboo, WI

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 23 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Aug 8, 2020
Russell Hobart
Jun 21, 2020
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Jun 13, 2020
Sean Monroe
Mar 30, 2020
Andy Markevicus
6.2mi — 2h 17m
Nov 24, 2019
Erik Cedarquist
6.2mi
Oct 19, 2019
Pranjal Dixit
7.2mi — 3h 14m
Sep 24, 2019
Kayla Rothi
Sep 1, 2019
Zach Anzelmo