Walking the Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton WI


Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI
Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI

The Pheasant Branch Conservancy is a 550-acre green oasis in Middleton Wisconsin. Dane County Parks manages 160 acres in a partnership with the Wisconsin DNR while the city of Middleton manages the remaining acreage. The combined area serves to protect a vital wetland and watershed for the Pheasant Branch Creek and springs that store and supply water feeding into Lake Mendota and the chain of Madison's four lakes.

Six total miles of multi-use trails ring the conservancy property and are popular for walking, jogging, and biking. The mainline trail is a 3-mile loop that is paved with asphalt, crushed stone, and extensive boardwalks. Across Century Ave from the Conservancy, the trails connect to the Pheasant Branch Bike Trail which heads out past Middleton High School and connects to the 11-mile long US Highway 12 bike trail which runs alongside the highway towards Waunakee.



Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI
Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI


As development in Dane County accelerates on Madison's West Side the Pheasant Branch Conservancy will play an ever more important role as a natural respite and green space. It is fast being surrounded by subdivided suburbia. As Dane County continues its runaway growth, adding 5-10 thousand residents each year, those new residents will be in search of quiet natural areas to walk, jog, and escape the pace of urban expansion. At 550 acres, about half the size of the immense UW Arboretum, Pheasant Branch Conservancy is able to meet the recreational needs of those who live on the far West Side.

Trails encircle an immense wetland, the remnants of a glacial lake. The mainline trail is wide and paved. And, supporting the mainline is an array of grassy side trails that either climb a towering drumlin from the top of which provides long views of the capital city, or weave down into the wetland to a platform for observing the springs that bubble up and provide the Four Lakes with their water for boating and fishing.

The joy of walking the 3-mile loop around Pheasant Branch is that it feels like a true journey. Half the walk twits and turns in the shade beneath mature trees, while the other half crosses sun-drenched meadows and restored prairies. You come away with a sense that you've discovered something new each time you visit.

Parking is a breeze at a number of lots and along nearby streets, but your best bet for accessing the Pheasant Branch is at the large lot at Orchid Heights Park. A restroom building with running water is available at that parking lot as well.

Pheasant Branch Conservancy is an important green space for social activities and recreation, but it also plays a critical role in protecting and assuring clean water for Madison's biggest recreational attraction - the Four Lakes. It is a masterpiece of public planning that is certain to be treasured for centuries to come.


Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI
Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI

Pheasant Branch Conservancy Trails


COUNTY: Dane
COMMUNITIES: Middleton

TOTAL MILES: 6.3
DIFFICULTY: Very Easy




Directions and Trail Map



If viewing on a mobile device, open the trail map above to load into Google Maps App by touching the expand rectangle in the upper right corner.

Address for your GPS: 4200 Park Trail Middleton, WI 53562
| coordinates: 43.015434, -89.520003 |

From Milwaukee1.5 Hours
From Madison5 minutes
From Green Bay2.5 Hours
From Wausau2.5 Hours
From Minneapolis6.5 Hours
From Chicago2.5 Hours



Photos


Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI
Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI

Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI
Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI

Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI
Orchid Heights Park Middleton WI

Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI
Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI

Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI
Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI

Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI
Springs in the Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI

Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton WI
Pheasant Branch Creek in Middleton WI