Residents of Madison are centrally located to a lot of
hiking options in every direction. While some of those sites are closed there
are plenty of options within or just outside of Dane county. Not only are these
sites scenic and don’t experience super high use, some (especially the SNAs and
Prairie Enthusiast sites) are great examples of Wisconsin’s native plant
Note: These sites are
open as of 4/12 but may close at any time if use is high, so we recommend that you check their
Sites with trails:
Use the links to find directions. Even though these
sites are usually not very crowded, they are not designed for large groups of
people. Due to Covid-19, parking lots may fill up quickly, so if you
have a choice it’s more likely there will be fewer people in the morning, late
in the day, or on a weekday.
SNA= State Natural Area
Valley Conservancy SNA (Black Earth)- restored oak savanna and nice prairie
with beautiful trees and big views, multiple trails with a map AND Black
Earth Rettenmund SNA(Black Earth)- high quality remnant prairie with good
views and lots of flowers.
Wildlife Area (Lodi)- Ice Age Trail runs through the site. Hills and good
mixture of woods and restored prairie views.
Bluff Prairie SNA (Albany)- sizeable remnant prairie with native flowers
and sweeping views. Section owned by the Prairie Enthusiasts is larger and has
a up and back trail. If you follow directions on the access tab on the link
provided you will be at the larger site.
Woods SNA (Verona)- decent trail system through open mature oak woodland,
Wildlife Area (Belleville)- large wood and wetland complex. Ice Age Trail
goes through the property
Bluff Section Ice Age Trail (Cross Plains)- scenic bluff on end closest to
Cross Plains with remnant prairie and woods hike
Dane county parks-
all Dane county parks are open at this time but we would not be surprised if
they see a spike in users and have to close. They are designed for more people,
and many offer lots of trails. Highlights are Donald Park (Verona), Indian Lake
Park (Middleton), Walking Iron Park (Mazomanie)
Ice Age Trail-
all sections of the Ice Age trail outside of closed areas are still open.
Grady Tract (UW-
Arboretum- Madison)- restored oak woodland and savanna on the south side of the
beltline. Small lot at junction of Seminole and beltline.
Bike Trails- most bike trails are still open. There are many
that go through and exit Madison
Sites with few or no
These sites vary from having walking paths with/without maps
to no trails at all. There should be fewer people.
Prairie Enthusiasts (volunteer driven non-profit)- has many sites in Dane
county and the surrounding area, most without designated trails. Properties are
well managed and good examples of native prairie and oak savanna
Oak Savanna SNA (Poynette)- large site good option for those wanting longer
hike with great oak savanna and hill prairies, also a small box canyon. Contact
Jared for more details on how to find this.
Drumlin SNA (Waunakee)- mixture of farm fields and cool drumlins of remnant
prairie very close to Madison.
Road Prairie SNA (Waunakee)- hill with views in 360 degrees including of
the capitol. Remnant prairie with flowers.
your own adventure via an SNA like Ridgeway Pine Relict SNA.