Hike through Indian Lake Park

4.7 miles 324 ft gain  - Loop Trail

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!

Read More


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Rolling Hike

A lovely rolling lakeside hike

Stay Nearby

DeForest, Wisconsin

Madison Koa

Arena, Wisconsin

Nature Lover And Gardener's Dream

The most fantastic farmland, in my family for over 60 years. We had a farmer's market (fruit stand) in the '60s with everything from cantaloupe and watermelon to herbs. Flowers and every vegetable ...

From $24/night

Reedsburg, Wisconsin

Valley Springs Farm Bed And Breakfast

Valley Springs Farm offers the tranquility of rural life with easy access to recreational, cultural and culinary activities.The 255-acre farm is a mix of woodlands, pastures, rolling cropland, and ...

From $110/night

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Dells Koa

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike through Pope Farm Conservancy

    More info can be found about that here.  This is a beautiful 105 acre conservancy with several different trails.  It’s a great spot for a picnic and to bring the family.  There are interpretive signs so you can learn about the history of the land ...

  • Visit the public gardens at West Madison Agricultural Research Station of UW-Madison

    This garden is open to the public from dawn to dusk, 7 days a week, free of charge.  The gardens are tended by summer interns.  During the off-season they are maintained by volunteers and apprentices.  We made our first stop here earlier this week...

  • Hike Ferry Bluff State Natural Area

    Ferry Bluff is a 0.8 mile lightly trafficked, very steep out and back trail located near Sauk City, Wisconsin that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is...

    0.8 miles 320 ft gain

  • Hiking through Owen Conservation Park

    There are no specific trails in this conservancy, so just choose the path that looks the best to you.  It would be hard to get lost here and all the trails put together are only about 3 miles.   There are some hills, but nothing too serious. bathr...