Hike the Perimeter of Devil's Lake



5 miles

Elevation Gain

500 ft

Route Type


Added by Justine Marshall

If you like breathtaking vistas and amazing rock formations with a lake front view, Devil's Lake State Park is the place for you! Hikers, climbers, and water loving mermaids will feel right at home at this Wisconsin gem.

Devil's Lake State Park has over 22 miles of trails for all hiking skill levels. To hike the perimeter of the lake, Begin with West Bluff Trail, hook into Balanced Rock Trail, and finish with East Bluff Trail. The bluffs surrounding the lakes reach elevations up to 500 feet.

West Bluff Trail is a good trail for beginner to intermediate hikers. The south is a steep climb with it becoming easier as you approach the north end of the trail. The West Bluff Trail is approximately 1.5 miles long. Views along the trail include Devil's Lake (named to draw in tourists) and Lake Wisconsin in the distance. Combine this trail with Tumbled Rocks Trail that is adjacent to Devil's Lake to add an additional 1.5 miles to your trek.

Balanced Rock Trail boasts a steep and rocky terrain with steps carved from quartzite boulders present in the area that is a favorite of area climbers. You can find the 0.4 mile long Balanced Rock formation off to the south of the trail, on the south face of the East Bluff. 

East Bluff Trail ranges from intermediate to difficult. Look for Elephant Rock just above Elephant Cave while traversing its undulating pathway along its quartzite outcrops. East Bluff Trail intersects with Balanced Rock Trail on the south end, where it then continues east. Bonus points if you hike the entire trail and find Devil's Doorway and the Potholes Trail before ending at the CCC Trail. 

Best times to use the trail are March through October. In the winter, the trail becomes very slippery with ice. 

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Known for

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area



Leave a Review

WI Beauty

The hike is 5 stars without a doubt. Expect to see a lot of other people as Devil's Lake is a hidden gem in WI. Take your time exploring the area and hiking the loop. There are plenty of spots to take a break (rocky areas only - let's all try to stop the damage and erosion off-trail hiking causes) and rocky outlooks to take in the view. There are bathrooms and picnic tables at the beach area/parking lots. Please pack out all that you pack in :)

The best in Wisconsin

This is probably the best and most thorough hike one can do in Wisconsin. Takes a good 2-3 hours to do the whole thing! Well worth it, but if you don't like crowds, avoid the 12-3pm time to do this. It is best viewed at sunrise/sunset!

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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Hike the East Bluff Trail to Devil's Doorway

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Hike the Balanced Rock Trail at Devil's Lake

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