The park is pretty nice. The pedestrian beach is to rocky for my liking, but the dog beach is nice and sandy yet small. There is also a bit of a hike to get there. So if you take a cooler you may want a wagon.
The sites we were in were a little narrow to back in a 30ft camper. The pictures of the site did not show this. The staff was friendly and the restrooms were clean.
What do you do when you want to camp but don’t have much time off from work? Camp near your work! That’s just what we did at Lake Kegonsa in Stoughton WI. Here we will review this wonderful state park just outside the capital city of Madison but far enough away to feel like you’ve actually gone somewhere remote.
The campgrounds are split up between regular and group camping. The group camping site was down the road from regular camping and consisted of a big parking lot, toilet facilities, recreation areas, and a large open area for 2 groups to camp. It was far enough away that if a group was partying late into the night it wouldn’t disturb the regular campers.
Both campgrounds shared a “shower house” complete with 3 shower units and about a half dozen toilets and 3 sinks(at least on the“female” side). There were also handicap private rooms with toilet and shower bundled together. Facilities were clean enough and toilet paper seemed to always be stocked. My husband had reported that he only needed to press the shower button twice for hot water to start flowing. I however had to press it about 7 times. I think it really depends on when the shower was last used. Takes a while for the hot water to reach your stall. Showers stayed on for about 20 seconds before you needed to push the button again. The shower heads could all use a little TLC but they were functional. Wearing shower shoes is recommended. There were NO soap dispensers so make sure you bring your own toiletries.
Adjacent to the shower house was a nice wooded picnic area with playground equipment for the kids. There was also a trail path the lead down the lake. You could also find the firewood station here but we never were able to catch the people selling the firewood at the station. They always seemed to be driving through the campground to make their sales. This seems like a nice service since you don’t have to haul the wood in your own vehicle but when we wanted wood there was nobody to be found. We ended up going about a half mile down the road to purchase wood from a house that had it bundled up in a self serve stand. Wood here was only$5 a bundle and was full of hardwood and a much better deal than the campground wood. Bonus: They invite you to recycle the orange plastic bags by returning them to the stand on your way out.
We reserved one of the many “double sites” the campground offers as we were camping with our daughter and needed to setup two tents and have enough room for 3 vehicles. The double sites include two picnic tables as well. We easily had enough room for two tents, 1 screen room, 1 shower room, a large truck, SUV and a car. We were in sites#13 and couldn’t be happier with our choice. I had done a drive through before reserving the site on the state camping website so I knew which ones would work for us. Site #18 would have worked as well. There are 96 sites to choose from in all and even on the weekend there were still a few open spots. Lots of spots can handle RVs and there were drive through sites so you don’t have to back in if that’s beyond your skill set. A third of the sites offered electricity and there was a dump station near by. Water spigots and pit toilets were spread out to make them convenient from almost any site. I've included some pictures of other campsites so you can get a feel for what to expect.
One of my requirements when camping is some level of privacy between sites and the majority of sites in this campground provide that. Its heavily wooded, sites are nicely spaced and we weren’t bothered by the camp hosts at all. We stayed 3 nights but did not have 1 visit from the hosts even to clean out the fire pit. By the end our pit was full of ashes! Our fire grate was a little beat up and did not have a smooth surface like I saw at some of the other sites but it did the job. I was able to put a pot of water on to boil when needed and it was relatively stable.
The campground is somewhat close to the interstate and rural highway roads so there is some traffic noise but relatively quiet by night time. What was NOT quiet on Thursday night was the freight train that came through around midnight and then again at 2 am. The first train only blew its horn a few short times. The second train acted like someone was laying on the tracks and was a little excessive for 3 am! Luckily we did not hear trains Friday night(or we slept through them) and we only heard 1 on Saturday night. The park is adjacent to more than one crossing so if this will disturb you I recommend finding another place to camp.
The park includes a beach and boat launch to help you enjoy Lake Kegonsa. It was also pet friendly with pet trails and a pet beach of their own. There were signs posted to keep pets on a leash when not in the water but people were not following that rule. Nor were they following the rules on the“people beach” which posted no pets but yet there they were. The beach area was very small but it was enough for the kids to enjoy or to get your paddle board or kayak out on the lake. Keep your eyes out for the “bonus swings” found throughout the park. My daughter and I enjoyed swinging on one near the beach and my husband and I enjoyed one near the shower houses.
There were also multiple trails scattered throughout the park. Everything from a quick half mile trek to loops that allow you to put on a couple of miles. Even though it had been raining prior to our visit the trails were not mud pits. Trails were well groomed and enjoyable. And we escaped without a million mosquito bites but were mildly bothered by gnats. We did spray our campsite with a backyard fogger and this may have helped because other reviews tell tales of being eaten alive. We did not see much wildlife so if that is what you’re after its best to pick a more remote location.
Overall I enjoyed the park and would visit again if I had to be in the area. The only standout negative was the trains. Any site you pick should be a winner and contribute to a great camping experience.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time, and on this trip I tested the Wenzel Blue Jay 25 Degree sleeping bags.
My husband and I are outdoor enthusiasts and have slowly collected our gear over the years. Some quality items have lasted the test of time and other items have fallen apart rather quickly. One of the items we are still lucky to have are our sleeping bags that we purchased for our first camping trip over 20+ years ago. Unfortunately, those bags were made for the extreme cold Wisconsin is famous for. They work well in early spring and fall and have held up to many years of use….. but we find we can’t possibly use them for summer camping. We have taken to unzipping one bag and using it as a mattress cover and simply using sheets or light blankets on top.
So when we received our invite from Wenzel to review some of their equipment it was an easy choice to go with their Blue Jay 25 Degree sleeping bags. This weight seems perfect to handle a cold summer night and just what we need to round out our sleeping bag weather choices.
Wenzel shipped the bags fast and they were packaged individually and arrived intact. I love the fact that they came with their own stuff sacks. It was easy to unroll and reroll the bags and fit them back in the sack. That is something our colder bags don’t have. We have to roll them and tie with an attached string and store them in giant trash bags. I like this design much better. These bags are also more lightweight so they take up much less room than our old bags. This has become very important as we recently gave up our mini van and now have a midsized SUV. Space is now a premium and these fit the bill.
The fabrics are quality and everything seems well stitched together. I don’t feel like its going to unravel and let the filling bunch up unevenly. The flannel lining is soft and handled moisture well. The embroidered logo on the bag was a nice touch. The zippers on any equipment are usually where things go wrong first but these seem well made and easy to open and close. And the bag unzips fully if we wanted to use it as a blanket making it very versatile. The weight of the fill was perfect for this early summer camping trip. Not too hot yet kept us warm enough when temps dipped into the upper 40s. I’d say it was the perfect summer weight for a sleeping bag in our area.
The price point was very competitive and makes these bags a great value for the quality product you get. I look forward to having these bags on all our summer trips from now on. I also look forward to shopping Wenzel again when considering a camping gear purchase. To easily find this bag just follow this link: https://wenzelco.com/blue-jay-25/
Large number of campsites plus a group campground. Mix of electric and non electric. Big mature trees provide shade on many sites. Very gravelly so have to inspect best spot for tent. Vault toilets through campground loops. Shower house at main entrance and at beach. Small sandy beach with picnic area nearby. Nice benches a d fishing docks near main boat launch.
Lake Kegonsa is located in Stoughten, slightly off the beaten path. As long as you have a state sticker or are a resident, the cost of the campground is $27. A little steep, especially since you really can't enjoy being outside due to the mosquitos. However, if you can build up enough mosquito spray and get extra adventurous, there are tons of trails, all well groomed, meandering through woods, prairies and even down by the lake. Maybe take a map along, as I did get lost while geocaching. There are several geocaches in the park, which adds a little fun, but they are in the woods, and the mosquitos are oblivious to the bug spray! I managed to find a few caches before calling it quits and retreating back to my campsite. Realizing I was fighting a loosing battle with the mosquitos, I retreated to my tent where it was quite comfortable to nap. The park did not seem full, nor do I think it filled up. I think many of the locals know the bugs are bad and leave it for those of us from out of state to get eaten alive. There were plenty of nature sounds and the park really is beautiful! The roads are narrow, but surrounded by trees. You can't beat the views at this place, really spectacular. There were free showers, flush toilets and running water in the bathrooms. This was nice, however, the mosquitos were in there too! While I was lost, I found some magnificent group sites, they were huge, many had covered picnic areas and a communal park in the area that had volleyball and horseshoes. There were vault toilets in those areas. They weren't far from the groomed paths either so a walk around was easily accessible. I also noticed that once the snow flies, they appear to keep those trails groomed for cross country skiing. At that point I don't think you can walk on them anymore though. It was really pretty quiet outside of nature sounds, so that is definitely appreciated. This was a short overnight for me to avoid a much longer drive after a late night but with as pretty as it is, I'm not sure I'll go back. The mosquitos are just too much.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time- today I am testing products from Outdoor Element. This was a fun company to shop with. I wanted to try out several of their items and some of the items that compliment their firebiner as well. So I took along the firebiner, the Hero Clip, the Packrat AK for Firebiner, Fiber Light tinder, Spartan Fire tinder, as well as Tinder Quik. Everything except the Hero Clip goes hand in hand with the Firebiner. So lets start with that Hero Clip, first off, I threw it in my bags for a long trip and it proved it's value on the very first day. Similar to a caribiner, it has so many uses, but it has a tad bit of an advantage. You can fold out an additional hook and that really is a great selling point. I used to hook my water bottle to my luggage, which was fabulous since my hands were very full. I also went to a public restroom that didn't have bag hooks, oh no, not the gross floor. Well, Hero Clip came to the rescue. Just throw that hook over the door and your bag can stay clean above the floor. It also worked great for hanging my bath items while showering. The uses are endless and it definitely proved it's worth!
Now, on to the fun with fire. I was bikepacking and didn't have a lot of space so I threw in my firebiner with my bike lock key attached, along with three of their tinders and the little storage container for more tinder and the extra Ferro Rods. All of it took up very little space, even the tin with the Fiber Light really didn't bother me space wise and that particular tinder is a handy one. My wood was wet, it had been raining for three days and I only had what was available. The Fiber Light started easily with the spark that the firebiner threw off and burned for a good bit, allowing the wet wood to catch. I wasn't expecting a long enough burn for it to actually catch. Later I got some dry wood and did a little video showing the three tinders and how well they caught. I found that the Tinder Quik and the Fiber Light were the best two. I was actually unable to get the Spartan Fire to catch. That one boasts a nice compact tinder that you can keep in your pocket in case of emergency and I expect it would work great with a match, as it appears to be a paper coated in wax, which I have had good experience with before, but the spark that the Firebiner threw was just not enough in my case. The Tinder Quik is really simple, you just pull apart the fibers and light, it catches pretty good and has a pretty good length of burn. But like I said before, the Fiber Light seemed to be the hero. It lit pretty easily (although in my video it appears not to, there was a bigger chunk that was interfering with my spark, once moved, it lit pretty easy) and burned the longest of the three, with Spartan fire not catching at all.
Ok, the firebiner is a really cool little gadget. It has features like a small knife, perfect for fishing and retying your lures on, it has a bottle opener, a screwdriver, a couple spots to attach your keys and lastly that wonderful ferro rod with a wheel to spark it. No need to find a rock to bang it on, it sparks like a lighter, there isn't any fuel so it doesn't stay lit but it throws a spark. This little guy, which is smaller then most caribiners and lighter too, is perfect to throw in to your camping bag or survival kit. Don't forget some of the tinder to take along so that you have something to get a fire going.
This is a great campground for family camping. The trails are beautiful and not too long for little legs. There’s a nice little playground by the bathrooms. There is a great beach for people and another really nice one for dogs. The campsites are a descent size with most of them offering pretty good privacy.
I have to admit, I had high expectations when I arrived at Lake Kegonsa State Park. Unfortunately it did not meet expectations. There were more mosquitos in that park than the entire State of Minnesota. I did not even cook dinner because I was on the menu for all of the other insects.
I ate some granola bars in my car before quickly setting up my tent and going to bed. That wasn't all of my troubles. The park is right next to a railroad track, and around midnight and five in the morning a train came rolling through blowing its whistle and shaking the ground. This is no exaggeration.
The lake was peaceful in the morning and there were several people out on their boats fishing. I did hear earlier in the summer the lake was closed due to algae, but it was open when I was there.
To add insult to injury, if you are from out of state, it costs $11.00 for a one-day vehicle pass, and the non-electric tent sites cost $25.00. This is highway robbery. You couldn't pay me to camp there in the future. I wish I could get my money back!
P.S. My phone died so I was only able to get one picture of the lake. Sorry.
We loved this campground. Just a quick 2 hour drive from our home in Chicago, with large wooded sites for privacy. Clean bathrooms. The lake was "closed" in late summer due to algae blooms, which was disappointing, but we were able to drive a short distance to access water in other places. Close proximity to Madison was also fun.