Hike through Indian Lake Park

Rate this Adventure Wisconsin Indian lake

Added by Alex Tande

A great place to escape the city. Located just outside Madison, it is short drive to experience a little patch of paradise. With activities year round, a clear night sky, or a great hiking/running spot, it provides an excellent spot for all to enjoy.

442 acre park just outside of Madison is a perfect spot to escape for awhile. About a 20 minute drive from Madison makes it easily accessible even on a tight schedule. It provides a great place for lots of outdoor activities, year round.

I love this place enough that I have been there many times and I will continue to go there in the future. I most commonly trail run through the park, starting and ending at the parking lot. The trail most commonly used the 4.7 route around the outside of the central region of the park, the red loop.

The start of the run goes right along the lakes edge, making it tough to keep running rather than sitting and enjoying the view. It kicks you out of the woods and into the an expansive view of the lake and the surrounding prairie. Weave in and around the trails though the prairie and work your way back into the woods. If running in the fall, the tree colors are truly spectacular. When the light hits the canopy it can be breathtaking.

This up and down course will give you a great workout through the woods, and then the last bit heads down into another open prairie surrounded by heavy woods on both sides. You finish the loop by cruising along a gravel road back towards the parking lot. Both the distance and elevation gain listed for this spot is for the red loop!

Hiking is another great option for this park. I have done all the different loops, all four of them. Red, yellow, green, and orange trails wind their way through the parks, all intersecting with each other. Red is the 4.7 mile loop, green is two miles, yellow and orange are both 1.3 miles long. Green, yellow, and orange all use the red trail (described running route) as part of the loop, but have trails that break off from the red trail and head back towards the car park through the open prairie land rather than looping around the outside of the park.

The awesome part of this park is that if you start out wanting to do the red loop, but decide partway through that there isn't enough time or you are starting to tire, take one of the other color loops back to the parking lot and still enjoy some beautiful scenery.

The winter option is cross country skiing. The ski routes follow the same loops as the hiking/running trails that are used when there is no snow on the ground. The red loop can be very challenging, and I was in over my head (I am a very inexperienced skier) when attempting it. All the loops are rated for their skill level, mostly dictated by the elevation change.

The awesome part of the skiing, is where the green and yellow loops intersect, there is a warming hut with a well stocked pile of firewood. Located just a few minutes from the parking lot (depending on which side of the loop you are on) it is an awesome spot to build a fire and warm up before climbing into the car.

While there are other activities you can do at Indian Lake, these are the ones that I do on a regular basis. Next time you are feeling the need to get outside in Madison, check out Indian lake, I know you won't regret it!

Pack List

Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Loop

Distance:

4.7 Miles

Elev. Gain:

324 Feet

Features:

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by Alex Tande

Just a bearded guy with a camera. Trying to explore this world one step, pedal crank, or paddle stroke at a time. Always need to find time for the hammock and the 12oz beer curl. You know, the important parts of life

More Adventures Nearby

Backpack the Milwaukee River and Butler Lake Segments of the Ice Age Trail

Wisconsin / Milwaukee River Trailhead

The Milwaukee River Trailhead for the Ice Age Trail (IAT) is located on WI-28, east of the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive.

Matt Johnson
13 Saves

Hike the Balanced Rock Trail at Devil's Lake

Wisconsin / Devil's Lake Balance Rock Trail

Devil's Lake is one of Wisconsin's most visited and most beautiful state parks, offering many trails, activities, gorgeous scenery and more.

Jon Mattrisch
34 Saves

Walk the Stations of the Cross At Holy Hill

Wisconsin / Holy Hill National Shrine

Holy Hill National Shrine is a landmark within the Wisconsin area, both as a tourist spot and a great location for fall colors.

Matt Johnson
6 Saves