Ice Age Trail and Camping at Devil’s Lake State Park, Wisconsin

Why Devil’s Lake, WI?

Ice Age Trail – One of the 11 National Scenic Trails in the nation, more than a 1000 miles across Wisconsin. You have many trail-heads all across Devil’s Lake.
Devil’s Lake – Plentiful of water activities – swimming, kayaking, beach frolics.
Camping – One of the most sought-after, well-maintained camping destinations around Chicago. Remember to book it months in advance. Perfect spot for a once in an year camping!

Ice Age Trail – We didn’t find Manny or Sid though!

How to Plan your visit?

•  For accommodation, I would highly recommend the local camp sites at the lake, although you would need to reserve months in advance for the weekend slot. We stayed at Upper Ice Age campsite 413-414 (joint family site).You can book the campsites here. You can also choose among the many cabins/resorts around the area.

The campgrounds have a dense tree cover all around

• Run through this indispensable emergency checklist.

• Run though these tech essentials to turbo-charge your road trips.

•  Choose your hikes. We did the Tumbled Rocks, East Bluff, Devils Doorway and Balanced Rock.


Our hikes are outlined above

Here’s the entire list of maps.

Our Trip Details from Naperville

Aug 12-14, 2022 (we booked it on Jan 1st, 2022!)

Road Trip
Naperville to Park Headquarters, Baraboo.
3 hours from North Naperville.

The view of the countryside just before Devil’s Lake

We stayed at joint family campsites (413 & 414) Upper Ice Age Campground (no electricity).

Tip: Devil’s Lake has very limited joint family sites – which essentially means you would get 2 connected sites close together which makes it all the more enjoyable if you have a large group.


The Campsite


Our joint sites were nestled deep inside the woods with the tree cover so thick that even in broad daylight, we hardly felt any sun!


Tumbled Rock Trail

The eponymous Tumbled Rock Trail did justice to its name.


The wooded path leading to Tumbled Rock Trail

East Bluff Trail

East Bluff Trail is hands down the most scenic of them all, with its awe-inspiring views of the lake from the vantage points of the encompassing mountains. The uncanny escarpments of the quartzite bluff overlooking the lake are visually stunning.


Tip: For this trail, you can either choose either East Bluff (moderate) or East Bluff Woods (easy). I would recommend choosing the former on the ascend and the later on descent as the gradual decline of East Bluff Woods incurs lower tax on the knees.

You would be privy to many awe-inspiring views en route to the top.


Lessons Learnt:
Please be mindful that it is very easy to get lost on this trail. We wandered off the main trail for an hour. Needless to say, it was pretty stressful with many kids in toe and their grueling questions.

Here’s us during our ‘no clue where we are going’ hour.

Perks (or perils) of getting lost and taking less peaky path

Balanced Rock Trail

We did this trail by accident as the trail maps were very confusing. You could climb this from 2 directions:

South side: very arduous climb, basically vertical stone steps for the most part. Some of the stones could get slippery as well so shoes with good traction recommended. I held my nervous 6 year old’s hand all through as he plodded his way . Was challenging but fun. The trailhead starts from the South beach of Devil’s Lake.

North side: You can take the East Bluff trail  as it converges with Balanced Rock trail at the top of the cliff.

Balanced Rock trail entrance from the South face of the cliff

You would need to rest and cool off along the grueling path.


But the picturesque spots on the way to make the climb worth it!

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The Balanced Rock looked a bit edgy

Devil’s Doorway

Easily accessible from the top of the East Bluff trail.


Devil’s Lake Beach

We did Kayaking, river tubing and the other good old beach frolics at the North side of the beach (more touristy). Best part of the lake is that the beach runs extremely long before the waters turn deep.



Snacking up after all the fun

The Journey Back Home

The weather was dewy while coming back

That’s it, our 2022 camping gig was through before we knew it.

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So Long, Devil’s Lake

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