Note - this review is for the walk-up sites only This is our go-to campground when we decide we want to go camping with short notice. The park itself is neither very popular nor very interesting, so there are usually still sites available for reservation only a few days before your intended camping trip. The park itself isn't that interesting, but it is worth noting that it is located across the road from New Glarus Brewery. The brewery is an easy walk or bike ride from the walk-in campsites.
We have camped at several of the walk-in sites. The sites are all located along the bike trail, and carts are available for transporting your gear which means you can bring more gear than you would bring backpacking. The walk-in sites have a good amount of space between each site, however the sites on the east side of the bike trail get less level the further you get from the parking lot. All sites are shaded and have fire pits and picnic tables. The sites on the west side of the trail are more level but closer to the trail, so you have less privacy from passers-by. Our personal favorite site is #19. It is the closest site to the parking lot on the east side of the trail, but you have to take a short foot-path off the main trail to get to the site and the site itself can't actually be seen from the trail or the parking lot. This makes it very quiet and private, but still not too far from your car. The campgrounds do have a lot of raccoons so it is nice to be within an easy walk of your vehicle if you would prefer to secure your food. Site 19 is also very level and spacious, with plenty of room for at least two good sized tents. You can hear some road noise in all of the walk-in sites due to the highway being near by, but it's buffered a bit by the woods so it is more of a white noise.
The walk-ins have a vault toilet centrally located along the trail, and it has always been clean whenever we've camped there. A water spigot is also located centrally among the walk-in sites. You can take a short hike to the park's ampitheater from the walk-in sites, but they do not have programs very often.
quiet setting, fishing and shopping close by
Activities every week. Pool. Pond. Playground. Mini golf. Options for tent camping, cabin camping (both basic and deluxe), RV, seasonal sites. Friendly owners. Great gift/supply store.
We've been camping in our van for months now. We stayed here, visiting family. Had no reservation but it was not a problem. I like places that have RV and tents separated. The RV side was to the left and looked pretty full. The tent side was on a small loop with only 10-12 sites. We initially were the only ones there. All the sites had fire pits but one site, either 51 or 52 had that pit too close to the bushes so it wasn't really useable. We were right on the river bank with a good view of the bridge. The traffic was far enough away that we didn't notice it much. Lots of birds. Hiking trail near by that led us to the Riverwalk. Hot showers.Friendly staff. The only odd thing about this place was our site. We picked what we thought was a large site at the end of the loop, site 56. Another camper came in, a local who knew the secret I guess, went in behind us to a site that was not well marked. It's a much better site further away from everyone and into the trees. Our site must have been a good fishing spot. The whole place was nearly empty but a few fisherman parked right next to us during the day. We thought it was a bit rude but rolled with it. Checked the availability before you go. We were told this place floods on occasion and has to close. (It's that close to the river!)
Very nice campground. Plenty of tress . The sites are VERY close together but we were next to very nice people, if you like space you won't like this. The bathrooms are nice , clean we showered in our trailer but the showers looked decent. You can't beat the location!!! We love Galena, we didn't do the shops this trip just two days of hiking, BEAUTIFUL views. We would go back! nice pool (closed right now too cold) small park for kids. People very nice.
The good news about camping in the “off” season is fewer crowds; the bad news is that many of the perks (concessions, boat rentals,etc) are not available. After summer during the week, the only campground available is Quartzite (I believe there are two others plus a group campground). The bathrooms in Quartzite were new and very clean. Trails are plentiful and some are quite challenging but offer fantastic views. Trails are well marked. We were there on a cold, cloudy day but I think it is the best time to visit.Of all the Wisconsin State parks we have camped in recently, Devil’s Lake is the best!
Easily accessible, very clean and well maintained campground and park. Many sites to chose from for tents. Travel trailers have several sites and Friday most of them rolled in. The trails are well marked and appeal to hikers, mountain biking and winter sports.
We got there late in the evening, but the check in/self pay process was very simple and straight forward. Fees were incredibly reasonable for such a nice campground, and it was very quiet, even though there were lots of people enjoying this campground. Lovely atmosphere!
We arrived late, so we had to self pay. But all that paperwork and payment took place inside a little heated shelter house of sorts. Bonus! Most of the time, the pay envelopes are outside and you have to duck into your car, fill it out, and dart back into the dark to the drop box. There was even a campground map showing which spaces were taken and available (at the time the attendant went home for the day). This was nice, but the space we thought was open had been taken by someone moments before. So not fool proof, but a decent guide for those arriving after dark. We still found another space and made it our home for the night. Not to mention, they had one of the best maps I've ever seen!
$5 per adult
$5 per car or vehicle
$5 if you didn't have a park sticker
$5 if you made the reservation online or by phone.
$5 for electric
Soooo…if you had 2 adults, one car and needed electric, then it would be $20. And so forth…
This place is so quiet! The campground was very full that night, but we heard almost nothing from people at all. Just a little chatter from a couple guys nearby, but at a very respectful level. We actually got to enjoy the night sounds of pitter patter rain and the occasional owl in the distance. No road noise.
The sites are spread out enough to make this peaceful and private, but close enough to make the campground functional and cozy. Electric sites (designated with an "E" beside the number) were scattered with non electric sites. Electrics were more plentiful, though. Tent sites were also available, if you like. They were grouped together in a different area. Our closest neighbors site was within view of the fire ring, but no one was there this night. The sites were deep, so you could pull in and nestle in the trees, even if you had a neighbor, and it was more private. There was a nice picnic table near the fire ring, which was quite nice for a fire, but no grate for cooking on. The pad we pulled into was fairly level and covered in pea gravel. We were using our teardrop trailer this night instead of a tent.
There were bathrooms scattered around with very clean pit-type toilets, and there were multiple toilets in "mens" and "women's" rooms. There was also a shower house with pay showers, but prices were very reasonable. I think it was 25 cents for 5 minutes, and the more quarters you put in, the more time you got. There was also a row of sinks and mirrors under a sheltered roof as well as a pay washer and dryer, something I've never seen before at a campground.
Beyond the other lovely amenities, they had picnic tables everywhere, drinking water spigots, fire pits at every site and a playground for the kids.
Overall, definitely one of the more perfect places to camp. And if you had extra time, there was a lake at the other end of the park. And equestrian trails and an equestrian camp, but it was closed because of mud.
Located in gorgeous Amish country, the drive back to the interstate to head north again was incredibly enjoyable and a great way to end a great camping adventure.
Growing up in the city of Chicago, I didnt realize there were "mountains" in the midwest! My first time going here, I was in awe of the lack of flat prairie land, as I was used to for the area. My friend and I reserved a tipi several months in advance. We spent two nights and it was spectacular. We rented a canoe, which I highly recommend, enjoyed the trail that went around the entirety of Devils lake, and also hit up Devils Doorway for a sunset hike. I had to keep reminding myself that I was in the midwest!
Also, as most camping in the area, the raccoons can get aggressive, so keep your camp clean and food stored away. Keep a flashlight nearby and look out for glowing eyes in the trees and bushes!
Its very family friendly, and if you are looking to go when its more quiet, then try to go off-season, or rent a canoe and go far out onto the water ;)
I've been camping at Devil's Lake Campground for 23 years now. I've camped primarily in Quartzite, but also in the Northern Lights section. I've been there to camp in spring, summer, and fall. Besides my camping trips I take numerous day trips to DL because even after all this time I can't get enough of it. So what should you know?
The Bad: It is CROWDED!!! Especially in the summer, especially on the weekend, if you're looking for a wilderness getaway this is probably not it.
The new warden situation is interesting. Things have gotten a lot more strict in some areas (ex. You can only have 2 vehicles on a site at any given time), and are a lot more lax in others mostly because instead of a team of rangers there's now only a few wardens. We had an incident the last time we camped and rhe wardens did take care of the situation quite well, but it would have been nice had it been avoided/prevented beforehand.
The fire pits are often in very bizarre places, and usually not moveable.
Despite the crowds this place is drop dead gorgeous. Large fish, great blue herons, turkey vultures, loons, and bald eagles are just a few of the things I enjoy spotting at DL. There's so many trails to hike. The beaches are great, though the south shore has always been rocky it is much improved. Personally I prefer for it to stay as natural as possible anyways. There's great chalets on the north and south shores that sell souveniers, food, including cedar crest ice cream, and more! Paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats are available for rental too. There's also dog friendly swim areas on both shores which I am so thankful for. Dogs are also allowed and just about all the trails! Modern recently redone bathrooms with flush toilets and showers are available in the Quartzite section. In Northern Lights sites are much more wooded, and there are still flush toilets and showers, but they are a bit older. Both areas are beautiful and have their perks. Honestly they feel like 2 totally different places which is very neat. Ice Age is similar to Northern Lights I believe, and there's also group sites on the South Side of the lake. I'd have to say DL is the closest to mountains you can find in Wisconsin. The sites are well maintained. I love this place. It really is my home away from home. I wish it hadn't gotten so crowded, but it does go to show how amazing it is!
Got in late and left early so I can’t say much but the view of the lake was incredible and you can see every star in the sky. I was camping alone but they had a last minute opening which was so great!
Good foot trails, excellent canoe trail. Clean shower/toulet facilities.
Camping at sites on the ridge was recommended for the views. I totally disagree. The best sites with a view are walk up only. Our reservable site #137 had so much overgrown brush there wasn't much of a view. Plus the city and airport lights were annoying. I had to sleep with a buff over my eyes. You can hear the train all night long plus some airtraffic. You do not feel like you are camping in a remote state park if you are along the ridge. I won't camp on the ridge again.
Hard to find sites to accomodate one hammock camper. Best to bring a stand.
Although this may be one of the older state parks in Wisconsin, it has been well maintained and updated. Two campgrounds (plus an indoor and outdoor group camp). We stayed in Wisconsin Ridge where, with one exception, you need to choose function over view; we chose the views. For one night, this was the right choice! (The interior sites have electric). Note that some sites are very small. Concession stand in the summer and weekends in September and October. Bathrooms were large but lots of paper debris on the floor (we were there on a Monday so perhaps it had not yet been cleaned from the weekend) Large tiled shower rooms (individual) with a chair but NO Hooks to hang towel or toiletries from. Would have liked to go on the hiking trails but the mosquitoes were still bad. Next time - we will be back!
Good sized wooded sites with trees providing reasonable privacy. Flat area for tents but not all “driveways” are level which, unfortunately, we discovered in site 33. We slept with our heads lower than our feet in our camper van. Except for the handicap accessible sites, all are non electric (Twin Valley, the other campground has these). Bathrooms were clean but a little dated. Didn’t see hooks in the shower stalls. Nice hiking trails, especially Lost Canyon and Stephens Falls. Good cell coverage.
Spent a few nights a couple yrs ago. We reserved online and arrived late so we were setting up in the dark. We backed up easily into the site and was surrounded in quiet and darkness. There are a ton of hiking trails, a couple lakes/ponds to enjoy, and saw horses on the trails. We were close enough to water faucets, flush toilets and showers, pit toilets, and playgrounds. There was a worry of wild parsnips, so my daughter dressed like it was October and didn't enjoy the hikes as much as i was hoping.
There were a lot of people and everyone was friendly, but it wasn't as quiet and remote as I thought it might be. Lots of people hiking to the waterfall and other trails.
Only stayed one night, we were in the area to visit New Glarus Brewery and do a river float trip in Albany (though we couldn’t do the float trip because the water level was too high).
I enjoyed our night here but I don’t think I would return to this campground. We were at sites 15 & 16 which is right off a county highway. I was surprised how close it was to the road, and it’s not just a road in the state park, it’s a highway with thru traffic. Also the smell of the vault toilets was almost unbearable, I would avoid campsite next to/directly across from the toilets…there some trails that if we’d had more time I would have loved to explore.
If I return I would be interested in checking out the walk in or group campsites.
it was a great trip over all me and the wife enjoyed the secnery and caught out limit of trout… not to many people wich was awesome the cons : first night at 3am we were awoken but a train blaring its horn the whole way threw the camp ground and the. second night it happend at midnight and 3 am… and u have to buy their firewood u cannot burn anything from the park even if its down and dead
Campsites, trails and facilities were immaculate. Staff was friendly. drive in and hike in sites available. great for families; trails have info markers to educate hikers on geology and flora of area. Drive in campsites had fire rings and picnic tables, vault toilets available.
This campground is beautiful with towering pine trees. The scent is wonderful! It is within walking distance of the overlook of the magnificent Upper Mississippi River at the confluence of the Wisconsin River. There are other walking/hiking opportunities. McGregor is nearby and fun to check out. A drive along the Mississippi is beautiful going north or south of McGregor. Spook Cave is interesting and Effigy Mounds National Monument is outstanding. There are a lot of things to do in this area. Pikes Peak State Park is a gem!
What a gem in central Wisconsin. Clean campground with wooded sites, great hiking trails and crystal clear lake with great beach area. This is the nicest park I’ve been to in a long time. Highly recommend. The balanced rock trail is not for the faint of heart but worth it for the views on the way up.
I liked it, nice size sites, bathrooms clean. showers are individual not stalls with curtains which was cool. it rained all week before we arrived the site we were on could have used some more gravel as it was little muddy for the first day. nice beach for the kids. overall was a good weekend.
Located on the far western edge of Wisconsin this state park offers a little of everything - hiking trails connected to the camp grounds, boat access to the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers, overlook of where the Wisconsin River meets the Mississippi River, showers and flush toilets, playground/basketball/tennis courts, etc. Depending on what part of the park you are in (and the season) you can be away from it all or have almost all the comforts of home. There are 2 campgrounds within the park - Homestead (back in the woods and a little more rustic with vault toilets and no showers) and Ridge (on the bluff). Also both an indoor group site and outdoor group site. Campsites are mix of RV (+/- electric) and tent. Ridge Campground sites- located on the bluff they stay dry even when the rivers are at flood level. Some sites have views of the river right from the tent/RV. During peak season you will definitely need a reservation (likely months in advance), but there are a few same day spots held in reserve. Also during peak season there is a concession stand near the campground and boat rental (canoe/kayak) near the boat launch (neither were open when I camped there but were on a separate day trip)
A short drive from the state park is Effigy Mounds National Monument with additional trails and a reverse of the scenic view (looking south and east instead of west/northwest). Definitely worth a look since its FREE and so close by. Also in the area is Villa Louis (historical homestead) which can be toured for a modest fee (good rainy day activity). If coming from Madison area be sure to check out some of the small wineries along the drive either to or from the park.
Perfect for a family get away - showers, flush toilets, lots of hiking (but trails aren't very challenging), swimming area and boat launch, playground. Basically a little bit of everything that makes it family friendly. Peak season reservations are a definite (weeks to months in advance for weekends). Picnic table and fire ring standard at all campsites.
Beware of raccoons at this campground they are BOLD!
This campground is perfect for families with young children that don’t like the chaos of other campgrounds that are made for children. This ultra clean campground has amazing shower and bathroom facilities. All the camp sites are shady and super well kept. On site there is a small swimming pool that is clean and not too deep, as well as a giant beach and swimming hole. Campers me use the beach for free, but the inflatable‘s that are on the water cost extra . There is also an electric wakeboard Experience for cost. The beach is clean with a lot of shade pergolas, picnic tables, and seating. There is a restaurant on site that is not part of the campground, but makes for a good place in case of rain. They are currently building a new office which will improve the look at check-in a lot. The owners are kind and respectful, the grounds are very well-kept and bathrooms are cleaned multiple times a day. The showers take quarters, but they are hot, have good pressure, and a quarter gets you a lot of shower time. Our kids bring their bikes and have a nice time on the quiet and slow paths.
There is firewood for sale on site as well as ice, a few necessities, and ice cream!
This campground had 60+ campsites. The sites were very open and did not appear to be planned very well for camping functionality. The tent sites appeared to be very flat. Many other sites were very uneven and were challenging to get a camper into. The electric boxes in sites were also placed in strange areas (middle of campsite, 10+feet from camper parking pad, etc). The campground was also very open.
We did enjoy the peacefulness of this campground though. Lots of star viewing opportunities. Very limited road noise. Nice hiking trails. The overlook was also a great place to relax.
We definitely would return to this campground for the hiking opportunities; but we would chose to bring our tent instead of our camping trailer.
This review is for Yellow River State Forest's Big Paint Campground which consists of sites 35 through 61. Big Paint is a couple miles from Little Paint, a larger campground with 70+ sites. There are two equestrian campgrounds (Creekside and Little Frontier with sites numbered 1 through 34) as well as hike in campgrounds for backpackers. A photo of an area map is included.
Why did we choose Big Paint instead of Little Paint?
It's smaller and that's just our personal preference. There were only 4 sites occupied early Friday afternoon and a few more were reserved. We liked site 35, the first site on the left as you enter. This site is like being in a garden with trees and flowers surrounding the site. It had rained and more rain was coming, so the gravel parking pad on #35 was appealing. Most of the sites are completely on the grass.
Stocked trout streams are an attraction for fishermen; see photo of stocking calendar. We enjoyed hiking despite the mosquitoes and humidity in August and were able to make a 5+ mile loop leaving from the campground. You can also hike from Little Paint, and there are equestrian trails. This would also be a good area for X-country skiing and snowmobiling. A photo of the trail map is included. Caution: hunting is allowed in the non-campground area of the state forest.
Each site has a picnic table and fire ring. Other than that, you can dispose of your trash and use a vault toilet. There's water at the information center (and a camp host site) outside the campground about 100 yards to the left.
You're not getting much (and that's not a bad thing) so the $9 fee seems fair. Pay up front at the entrance station, or make a reservation online at last 2 days ahead of time (and pay a reservation fee). There are 7 non-reservable sites at Big Paint. I doubt that Big Paint fills up; just check the reservation site to see if they get crowded.
The trails and the views at this park are phenomenal. Find pictures of the campsites if possible, because some of the sites get a LOT of sun, and as we tent camp, it can be unbearable for our children. (We’ve camped with them yearly here since our littlest was 2, and that was the year we got a not so shaded site. Lesson learned.)