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Contact: DNR Office of Communications

Find Your Adventure Memorial Day Weekend In Wisconsin's Outdoors

More Than 100 State Properties To Visit

A family walking down a green park path For Memorial Day Weekend, the DNR encourages the public to explore a less-crowded Wisconsin state park, forest, trail or recreation area. Photo credit: Travel Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds the public that popular parks like Devil's Lake State Park will likely have heavy crowds during the holiday weekend. The DNR encourages everyone to explore other state properties to avoid congestion at the most visited parks.

Wisconsin is home to 50 state parks, 15 state forests, 44 state trails and several state recreation areas. There are several scenic properties where you can still find your adventure but with a smaller crowd:

  • Mirror Lake State Park is a prime spot for boating and swimming. Kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, canoes and pontoon boats are available for rent to get out on the namesake water. The park also features sandstone cliff ledges lining natural surface trails, a beach and an accessible pier.
  • For hiking, visit the miles of trails the wind through Governor Dodge State Park. The park offers easy hikes, steep hills with deep valleys, and trails for biking and horseback riding.
  • In the southeast, the Pike Lake Unit of Kettle Moraine State Forest is terrific for picnicking and hiking. The Ice Age Trail also travels through the Pike Lake overlook, which showcases a panoramic view of the lake.
  • The Great Sauk Trail is one of Wisconsin's many rail trails. The paved asphalt trail starts at the Sauk Prairie State Recreation Area and continues 10.5 miles paralleling the Wisconsin River through Prairie du Sac and Sauk City. Enjoy beautiful views, historic towns, fishing spots and local destinations for food, drinks and music.
  • Visit Natural Bridge State Park to see an incredible naturally formed bridge that is thousands of years old. It's a good one to explore for families with hikers of all ages and is less than 20 minutes from Devil's Lake.
  • For stunning views off the beaten path, explore Roche-A-Cri State Park. The park protects a 300-foot-high rock outcropping and Native American petroglyphs and pictographs.
  • Located near Castle Rock Lake, Buckhorn State Park is a great spot for water enthusiasts, hikers, campers and nature lovers. The park and two adjacent state wildlife areas cover more than 8,000 areas to explore.

All Wisconsin state parks, forests and recreation areas require a vehicle admission sticker. Purchase your 2023 vehicle admission sticker before your trip to avoid waiting in line at the entrance stations. Annual admission stickers can be purchased online, are good for the calendar year and are valid at all Wisconsin state parks and forests. If you are still waiting to receive the sticker in the mail before your trip, follow the instructions in your e-receipt to experience our parks.

Devil's Lake State Park

With over 2.5 million visitors annually, Devil's Lake is the most-visited state park in Wisconsin. On holidays and weekends during the busy summer season, Devil's Lake often has long lines at the park entrance, limited parking availability, and crowded trails and picnic areas.

All campsites have reservations at Devil's Lake State Park for this Memorial Day weekend. Some parking lots may close, often filling before 9 a.m. Expect long wait times. Access to some areas, or all of certain parts, may be temporarily restricted until congestion lessens. Parking is allowed in designated spaces only. Do not park along roadways or on the grass, and do not block the flow of traffic by waiting for a parking spot to open.

During 2023, South Shore Road at Devil's Lake State Park will be under construction between County Highway DL and Ski Hi Road which may also lead to delays and traffic congestion on busy days. South Shore Road will be closed during the week but will reopen on weekends.

This weekend, the DNR encourages the public to explore a less-crowded Wisconsin state park, forest, trail or recreation area. Find your adventure using the Find A Park feature on the DNR’s website.