Hoyt Park - Madison WI

Hoyt Park Trail - Madison WI
Hoyt Park Trail - Madison WI
Hoyt Park is a community park in Madison Wisconsin. The property was a former quarry for sandstone and dolomite. The sandstone was used for constructing many historic buildings in Madison, and the dolomite was crushed and and used for paving streets. In 1890 the City of Madison acquired the property and latter in 1892 Architects Nerlinger and Kronenberg designed Madison's first scenic pleasure drive: Owen Parkway.  The parkway wound its way to an overlook known as Sunset Point. The surrounding land became a park with hiking paths and picnic nooks.

Today, the once celebrated park has fallen into obscurity, however, a devoted friends-of-the-park organization has maintained a thriving prairie and endangered woodland flora thrives in Hoyt Park. Its hiking trail, which amounts to a 1 mile loop, is on par with hiking at Picnic Point and The UW Arboretum. It is an excellent escape into the wilderness; a hidden urban forest.





Sunset Point - Owen Parkway - Madison WI
Sunset Point - Owen Parkway - Madison WI


The Grand Old Man, Frank W Hoyt, a successful banker, avid outdoorsman, and champion of parks was instrumental in establishing the UW Arboretum as it is loved and cherished today in what was known as the Hoyt Transfer - a land transfer deal. Hoyt Park is named in his honor.

It was a grand old park for the Grand Old Man. From the very outset, it featured a scenic overlook to the West, Sunset Point - surely a popular 'necking' place. It wasn't named Hoyt Park at that time - simply the Owen Parkway. The park itself was further developed in the Great Depression and then named.

Hoyt Park - Depression Era Structures
Hoyt Park - Depression Era Structures
Carefully crafted stone fireplaces, tables,and structures were the hand work of unemployed Italian mason from the nearby Greenbush neighborhood - who finished the job even without being paid for all their time. The stone was quarried at the reopened Paunack Sandstone Quarry nearby. These monolithic stone fireplaces appear today like pre-columbian ruins and pagan altars wrapped in the clenching vines of a jungle. Occasionally, someone even picnics here.

The one mile long hiking trail will take you in and around the crest of the old quarry. You will flight down stone staircases built by the Italian masters - and pass all of the picnic nooks. You will also enjoy a walk through the Ready Prairie.

Audrey Ready obtained turf from a dry prairie which was subject to development and thus annihilation. With help from the Hoyt School students, she laid the turf down near the old route of Glenway Boulevard and established the prairie at Hoyt Park. Today the prarie has matured and taken a strong hold on the land.

Walls of the old quarry - Hoyt Park
Walls of the old quarry - Hoyt Park
The woodlands are my favorite part of the walk. And the cold stone walls of the hidden canyon carved out for quarry. I discovered, for the first time in my life, natural jack-in-the-pulpits and shooting stars at Hoyt Park. The shooting star is a marvelous spring flower that grows in the dappled shade at the edges of the quarry crest. Even a few trillium are known to found here.

Hoyt Park is mostly used by dog walkers and runners from the adjacent neighborhoods. But, it was always intended to be a city wide gathering place. It feels like a very strong and well established park. It has a presence, a history, and a story ... all of which seems to sprout from the earth and infuse the air ... This air here is so dense ... you could drink it in gulps.

Directions and Trail Map



View hoyt Park.kml in a larger map

Address for your GPS: 3900-3902 Regent St, Madison, WI 53705
| coordinates: N43.068024, W089.440394 |


From Milwaukee1 Hour 25 Minutes
From Madisonn/a
From Green Bay1 Hour 25 Minutes
From Wausau1 Hour 30 Minutes
From Minneapolis4 Hour 30 Minutes
From Chicago2 Hours 30 Minutes



Photos



Hoyt Park - Madison WI
Picnic Shelter Hoyt Park - Madison WI

Hoyt Park - Madison WI
One of many fireplaces and picnic areas in Hoyt Park - Madison WI

Hoyt Park - Madison WI
stairs to lost canyon in Hoyt Park - Madison WI

Hoyt Park - Madison WI
hiking at Hoyt Park - Madison WI

Hoyt Park - Madison WI
hiking at Hoyt Park - Madison WI

Hoyt Park - Madison WI
hiking at Hoyt Park - Madison WI

Hoyt Park - Madison WI
Owen Parkway at Sunset Point Hoyt Park - Madison WI

Hoyt Park - Madison WI
Hoyt Park - Madison WI
Sunset Point at Hoyt park in Madison WI
Sunset Point at Hoyt park in Madison WI






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