Arena Pines and Sand Barrens State Natural Area

Arena Pines and Sand Barrens features a somewhat overgrown example of sand barrens vegetated with jack pine, black oak, and river birch. Found along the edge of numerous sand blows scattered throughout the site is the evergreen false heather shrub, which helps stabilize the shifting sands. Also present are a diversity of dry prairie species […]

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Halfway Prairie School

Halfway Prairie School is the oldest rural elementary school in Dane County. This one-room school was operated from 1844 until it closed as a result of consolidation in 1961. It was given the name of Halfway Prairie because it was halfway between Mineral Point and Portage, a popular transportation route for early miners. Visitors may […]

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Indian Lake County Park

At 483 acres, Indian Lake County Park is one of Dane County’s largest parks. A winding trail leads to a historic chapel built in 1857, located on a hilltop with a breathtaking view of the lake and surrounding valley. Trails provide access around the entire lake, offering many recreational opportunities including access to a log […]

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Phil’s Woods County Natural Resource Area

Phil’s Woods is named for Philip LaFollette, three-time Governor of Wisconsin. His widow, Isabel LaFollette, donated Phil’s Woods to the State of Wisconsin. It was too small for development as a State Park so the property was passed on to Dane County Parks as a natural resource area. You may park and walk to view […]

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Ice Age Trail Junction County Natural Resource Area

The 536-acre Ice Age Trail Junction Area, located just east of Verona, will create a Dane County link in the 1000-mile long Ice Age National Scenic Trail. This link, along with its connection to the Military Ridge State Trail, will connect the Ice Age Junction Area with statewide recreational trail networks. The area, which is […]

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Ice Age Trail Indian Lake Segment

From its starting point on STH-19 at the Indian Lake County Park eastern entrance the Indian Lake Segment follows the park entrance road to the main parking area. A trail from the parking area leads about 0.5 miles to historic St. Mary of the Oaks Chapel (look for signage behind and to the right of […]

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Black Earth Creek County Wildlife Area Sunnyside Unit

This 292-acre property extends from the lowlands along Black Earth Creek, a Class I trout stream, to high, glaciated ridges, encompassing mostly level and gently rolling lands. The steep hillsides support deciduous woodlands. Varied topography creates many microclimates with the potential for a diverse wildlife habitat. An uncommon ‘goat prairie’ has survived just above the […]

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Old Halfway Prairie School: Dane County Historical Society

“This building is Dane County’s oldest existing country schoolhouse. Repeated remodelings conceal an original framework of logs. The land was donated for school purposes in 1844 by Mary Fowler, a widow and member of the British Temperance Immigration Society. The name Halfway Prairie was coined by early lead miners who often camped here when traveling […]

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Brigham County Park

This 232-acre park is named after Ebenezer Brigham, one of the first settlers in this area. The park provides a panoramic view of the Wisconsin River Valley. (Dane County Parks Department) […]

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Festge County Park

Festge County Park is located in the Driftless Area of Dane County and offers a scenic view 100 feet above the Black Earth Creek Valley — one of the more spectacular views in the county. The park contains 155 acres of beautifully wooded parkland with hiking trails winding through a mature stand of hickory and […]

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Mazomanie Oak Barrens State Natural Area

Situated on a broad and gently undulating sand terrace along the Wisconsin River, Mazomanie Oak Barrens features a significant oak barrens remnant containing large scattered black oaks with bur oak, black cherry, and small amounts of white oak. Groves of smaller oaks occur amid sand prairie openings with species such as big and little blue-stem, […]

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Mazomanie Bottoms State Natural Area

Mazomanie Bottoms encompasses a large area of Wisconsin River floodplain forest dissected by old river channels that are dry except during periodic floods. Silver maple, elm, basswood, and ash dominate the forest; other trees include swamp white oak, cottonwood, willow, river birch, and hackberry. Openings in the canopy due to elm mortality have a dense […]

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Walking Iron County Wildlife Area

This 898-acre property sits between Walking Iron County Park, Mazomanie Recreation Management Area of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, and Mazomanie Bottoms State Natural Area, linking thousands of acres of conservation land. Turkey, pheasant, deer, cottontail rabbits, mergansers, and grebes are abundant on the property open to the public for hunting, trapping, fishing, hiking, and […]

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