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Hiking guide for Madison

Check out these hiking trails catering to all skill levels in and around Madison, Wisconsin for outdoor adventures.

View from Gibraltar Rock bluffs

You can’t beat the view from Gibraltar Rock.| Photo by 608today

Table of Contents

From quick and easy loops around town to drives that take you to fantastic lakes and bluffs, our city has so many options to hit the trail. So lace up your hiking boots, because we’ve compiled a hiking guide for the Madison area to help you plan your next adventure and experience breathtaking views.

Note: While parks and trails may be listed as open, we recommend checking park websites before visiting for further info, current trail conditions, and safest practices for the area.

Key: Easy = 🥾 | Moderate = 🥾🥾 | Hard = 🥾🥾🥾

Madison area

Starkweather Creek Path, Access from the Goodman Sports Complex, 3201 Anderson St., Madison

608 Starkweather creek bridge hikes

The iconic Starkweather Creek bridge. | Photo by Chris Collins

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 3-mile trail
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Pet-friendly: Yes

Near the Bridges Golf Course, the path splits into two segments. Go west along Aberg Avenue to reach Oscar Mayer Park, or south to cross Milwaukee Street and converge with the Capital City Trail.
Picnic Point, 2000 University Bay Dr., Madison

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 2 miles out and back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes

A Madison classic, this mile-long peninsula juts out from the south shore of Lake Mendota. Reserve a fire circle for a mid-hike fire, or keep your eyes peeled for one of many benches along the trail to enjoy the views.
Edna Taylor Conservation Park Trail, 802 Femrite Dr., Madison

 Edna Taylor Sand Hill Cranes

Two Sanhill cranes enjoying an Edna Taylor Conservation Park stroll. | Photo by Friends of ETCP

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 2.3 miles out and back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: No

Each month, there’s an opportunity to join a 90-minute Bird and Nature Walking Tour to explore the park with an expert. Since this is a conservation park, no dogs are allowed, but there’s a high chance you’ll see plenty of critters on your hike.

Governor’s Island, Governor’s Island Parkway (off of Troy Drive), Madison

Governor's Island drone shot

A bird’s eye view over the east-side hidden gem. | Photo by Sekret Empire

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 1.2-mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes

Think: Picnic Point, but not as busy.

Pheasant Branch and Fredrick’s Hill Loop, 4864 Pheasant Branch Rd., Middleton

Pheasant Branch trail covered in snow

Don’t let the snow stop you from exploring Pheasant Branch Conservatory. | Photo by Friends of Pheasant Branch

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 4-mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Pet-friendly: Yes

This hike takes about an hour and a half on average but with plenty of side paths to explore, you can easily spend a few hours enjoying nature on this trail.

Lake Wisconsin area

Gibraltar Rock, Gibraltar Rock Road, Lodi

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 1.5-mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes

If you’re afraid of heights, you may want to skip this one. Just south of Lake Wisconsin, this hike is part of the Ice Age Trail and offers stunning views (especially in the fall) atop the 200-ft cliffs.
Ferry Bluff, Ferry Bluff Rd. (off of State Road 60), Prairie Du Sac

608 Ferry Bluff

View of Wisconsin River from Ferry Bluff

Check out the Wisconsin Rover from a new perspective at Ferry Bluff. | Photo by 608today

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 1-mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes

While it’s only a half-mile walk to the bluff, be prepared for steep walking conditions — but the view is worth it. This trail is closed November-March in an effort to protect roosting Bald Eagles.

Devil’s Doorway, Devil’s Lake State Park, S5975 Park Rd., Baraboo

608 Devil's Doorway hike

Devil’s Doorway is a popular hike at Devil’s Lake. | Photo by Paul Reznikoff

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾🥾
  • Length: 2-mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes

This hike offers a look at some of the impressive natural rock structures that can be found at Devils Lake. Try out its neighboring trail, Balanced Rock, for a similar experience with a shorter hike.

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