If you live in or around Madison, you don’t have to go far to enjoy a beautiful, nature-filled hike. Whether you have an hour or a whole afternoon, there are plenty of great options.
Here are my top four recommendation, all within an hour of Madison. Proximity to Madison, natural beauty, views, trails, and overall experience all factor in to their final score. Photos all link to websites outside my own, for more information.
Number 4. Pope Farm Conservancy, Madison, Wisconsin
Don’t let the description you’ll find online saying Pope Farm Conservancy is in Verona fool you. Pope Farm is on the edge of the far west side of Madison on Old Sauk Road, which gives it many proximity points.
In mid summer, the sunflowers and wild flowers there are breathtaking. Bring your mosquito repellant if you plan to hike through the low forest section of the park. Pope Farm wins the award for the worst mosquitoes I’ve ever experienced in my entire life, but otherwise it’s a great spot to connect with nature.
Number 3. Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area, Lodi, Wisconsin
Located just outside Dane County in Columbia County, Gibraltar Rock is a beautiful place for a hike, and offers many great views and photo opportunities.
Number 2. Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, Wisconsin.
This beautiful spot, located in Sauk County, would surely be number one on this list, if it weren’t nearly an hour from downtown Madison.
Number 1. Pheasant Branch Conservancy, Middleton, Wisconsin
Scoring big points in every category, especially proximity, is Pheasant Branch Conservancy. It winds through all of Middleton, and boasts beautiful wild flowers, wooded areas, open areas, a natural springs detour, and more. There are also added perks, like public restrooms open during warmer months, and leashed dogs are allowed.
Did I miss any of your favorites? Tell me who you recommend!