Yup, it's not listed as a scenic trail - it is scenic - it's listed as a scientific trail. The trail follows the moraines created by the Wisconsin Glaciers 15,000 plus years ago. Along it's route, you can see various geographic features created by the glaciers. Here in Devil's Lake State Park, there are a few unique items. The most notable is the...more
This place is to be respected and hiked with caution, especially, especially with children. It's surprising to me how there is no railings on top of the cliffs but it is an "at your own risk hiking experience." Not wise to let kids run ahead of you on the bluffs... I can only imagine the accidents and deaths that have occurred due to negligence and...more
Don't go here during any kind of National Scouting Jamboree - you will be overrun by munchkins! (Not kidding!!!)Have had these charming children toss rocks down the cliffs, nearly hitting us as we were climbing. Don't think they even thought about the possibility that people were below them. Believe me, they sure thought about it after we yelled at...more
Each year, one or more people die at this park. Usually they fall off the cliff edge. A friend of mine witnessed 2 deaths one year. One was a child who had just tried climbing and thought he was invincible and didn't need a rope after his first success -- and whose parents didn't watch him carefully. He split his stomache open on the rocks falling...more
Driving on the way to Devil's Lake you will find numerous signs for tourist activities you can do in the Dells. This entire area and all tourist activities therein are a giant tourist trap. Especially bad is the town center area, very overcrowded, and filled with all manner of tack designed to take your money. There are all sorts of theme parks based on water (the Dells themselves are a natural wonder) but which have nothing in particular to do with the original beauty and attraction of this region, which is the Dells themselves (strange water-shaped/glacial rock formations, potholes in rocks, towers, etc. rising out of the river area).
Unique Suggestions: Think of it as an 'out of body' experience, or as if you are a space traveller visiting another planet - because that is the only way to stay sane if you visit this area. A lot of families do come here every summer and do seem to enjoy it, but I honestly don't understand the phenomenon ....
Fun Alternatives: Hike in the surrounding Dells area, along the river and don't go to any of the tacky stores and invented 'tourist attractions'. Stay somewhat out of the main town (such as in the small town of Portage) and you will pay much more reasonable prices.
This site is archaelogically unique and beautiful - the Dells themselves are a wonder of nature and are amazing to see. Save some money and WALK through the area along the rivers, and look at the natural beauty. Rent a canoe, raft or innertube and float down the river, rather than taking one of those obnoxious tourist 'Duck' boats (the ones with wheels on them that drive into and out of the river) with tourguides on loudspeakers announcing the name of each rock you pass. Believe me, you will still hear the descriptions of the area from the tourist boats that other people are paying lots of money to ride in, while enjoying a more peaceful rafting float around the area instead of a fast-paced crowded boat ride.
Jacket and flashlight or headlamps. It gets darker faster than you think (due to cliffs) and I have lead several parties down from the cliffs with my single flashlight in past years! The trail from the cliffs is NOT easy to follow down in the dark, and is dangerous (slippery/steep/rocky/holes).
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Mosquito Repellent!!!! Lots of it!
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: The usual outdoor gear. And EARPLUGS!! Campgrounds here get crowded, and noisy.
There really are no 'off the beaten path' activities. Lots and lots of tourists come here from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois (tons of people from Chicago and Milwaukee are here every weekend). Your best hope is to go on a day when it looks like rain, but doesn't actually rain (or just sprinkles in the AM) or go early or late season to feel like the park is 'yours'.
It seems to me that the east side of the lake has more attractive scenes for me, such as the Balanced Rock and Devil's Doorway, and not to mention you can get a good view of the whole area. You can either start from the east bluff trail or the balanced rock trail. However, I would suggest starting from the balanced rock trail as this is a difficult...more
There are several guide books to this area. You can find them at local sports stores. The East and West Bluffs are where the majority of climbs are. Climbing Magazine also had an article about this area in one of the 2000 issues (or was that 2001?). If you can't gear climb, you must be prepared to top rope. There is NO (read that - NO) bolting...more
When it's empty!
Fondest memory: My favorite memories of this area are going their in early season, before most tourists show up (such as Mother's Day weekend). Then it finally feels like you are in the great 'outdoors' instead of in a boy scout camp.