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5 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors Near Madison, Wisconsin

Beautiful scenery and outdoor adventure await at these can't-miss destinations.

By Brittany Anas on September 8, 2021

Lakes, trails and more than 250 parks make the Madison Region attractive to residents who enjoy the outdoors. Here is just a small sample of engaging destinations in the Region:

1. Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Winding more than 1,000 miles entirely within Wisconsin, the Ice Age Trail is a footpath that stretches through 30 counties – including six in the Madison Region. More than 1 million outdoor enthusiasts use the trail each year for hiking, backpacking, camping, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.


2. Kalahari Resort

Both an outdoor and indoor water park span the grounds of Kalahari Resorts & Conventions in Wisconsin Dells, with highlights like a lazy river, activity pools, a kid’s play area and a swim-up bar. Lake Delton Waterfront Villas allow visitors to rent overnight cottages and cabins and experience a variety of dining options.


3. Picnic Point

Along Lake Mendota’s south shore is the milelong Picnic Point peninsula, a popular spot for walking, jogging and biking. Picnic Point draws University of Wisconsin-Madison students looking to get away from their studies for a short time. A campus bus makes regular stops across from the Picnic Point entry gate on University Bay Drive.


4. Badger State Trail

Running between Madison and the Wisconsin-Illinois border, the Badger State Trail measures 40 miles and is ideal for hiking and biking during warm-weather months, and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling during the winter. The terrain includes woods, rolling hills and ravines.


5. Cherokee Marsh Natural Resource Area

Cross-country skiing, backpack hiking and fishing are popular activities within the 243-acre Cherokee Marsh Natural Resource Area on the north shore of the Yahara River. The area is a wetlands habitat with much wildlife to view, and scenic trails traverse through woodlands, grasslands and restored prairie.

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