UW Lakeshore Preserve Hiking Trails

tree branches framing view of Lake Mendota


The University of Wisconsin Madison is a world-renowned academic institution, but beyond research and academics, its most valuable asset is the beauty of its campus. This is in no small part due to its Lakeshore Preserve, a public greenway stretching from Memorial Union to Eagle Heights on the shore of Lake Mendota.

These 300 acres of woodlands, tall grass prairies, marshes, and shoreline are crisscrossed by dozens of miles of networked pedestrian trails. A highlight of the preserve is Picnic Point, a popular social destination in Madison, but the trails wend deeper into the storied landscapes studied by conservation icons and UW alumni John Muir and Aldo Leopold. 


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dirt footpath through dense woods
Lake Mendota Path at UW Lakeshore Preserve



The Howard Temin Lakeshore Path is UW Madison's signature recreation thoroughfare. The trail unofficially begins at Memorial Union Terrace. Heading west from the terrace you'll pass the Hoofers Sailing Club and wind around the Department of Limnology building. Just past Limnology, a wide crushed stone multi-use path begins its journey towards Picnic Point.

With company such as the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Canyon, Picnic Point in Madison was picked as one of the top ten best places in the world to kiss by the San Francisco Examiner. It is a destination for the romantic, for runners, hikers, and bikers, and for students just out to have a fire by the lake. You could even bring a picnic.

Beyond Picnic Point, a complex network of single track trails weave through the forests along Lake Mendota. The Mendota Lakeshore path heads west from Picnic Point towards Frautschi Point - the northernmost point of the UW Madison Campus. The Lakeshore Trail then turns southwest and heads towards Raymer's Cove through the old Tent Colony Woods.

Tent Colony Woods was the site of Camp Gallistella, an improvised housing alternative for students taking summer classes between 1912 and 1962. Students who lived in the large platform canvas tents by the lake shore were able to live extremely inexpensively (practically free).

The trails don't stop at Raymer's Cove. The mainline trail continues to form a large loop in Eagle Heights Woods. As you head back towards Picnic Point hikers have the opportunity to explore the network of trails through the Biocore Tallgrass Prairie, Bills Woods, and the Old Orchard.

The UW Lakeshore Preserve is a gem. Its vast network of recreation trails along the beautiful Lake Mendota shore offers a natural retreat that few other college campuses can match. This nature preserve is easily accessible by a large population of the public living in the downtown Madison area, and also worth exploring for those traveling from out of town.



bench with a view of the lake
Fraustchi Point at UW Lakeshore Preserve

University of Wisconsin Lakeshore Preserve Trails


COUNTY: Dane
COMMUNITIES: Madison

TOTAL MILES: 12 combined network miles
DIFFICULTY: Very Easy to Easy

POINTS OF INTEREST: Memorial Union, Muir Woods, Allen Centennial Gardens, Willow Creek Woods, Triangle Marsh, University Bay Marsh, Picnic Point, Class of 1948 Marsh, Picnic Point Marsh, Old Orchard, Bills Woods, Biocore Prairie, Caretakers Woods, Frauschi Point, Raymer's Cove, Eagle Heights Woods, University of Wisconsin Madison, Lake Mendota

CAMPFIRES: Fire pit areas on the path out to Picnic Point are stocked with split wood nearby and available first-come-first-serve between 4am-10pm.

ENTRANCE FEE: No Fees Required

HOURS: 4am - 10pm daily




Directions and Trail Map


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Address for your GPS: 2001 University Bay Drive, Madison WI
| coordinates: N43.084235, W089.428913 |

From Milwaukee1.5 Hours
From Madisonn/a
From Green Bay2.5 Hours
From Wausau2.5 Hours
From Minneapolis4.5 Hours
From Chicago2.5 Hours



Photos


stone and wood fence and gate to wide gravel paved trail
Entrance to the Picnic Point Trail at UW Lakeshore Preserve

statue of Bucky Badger
Bucky guarding the entrance to the Lakeshore Preserve

paved trail through woods
Trail through the Old Orchard at UW Lakeshore Preserve

woodchip trail through woods
Trail at Picnic Point and Old Orchard at UW Lakeshore Preserve

Firepit at Picnic Point
Firepit at Picnic Point

Firepit at Picnic Point
Firepit at Picnic Point

Trail at Picnic Point
Trail at Picnic Point

Large firepit at Picnic Point
Large firepit at Picnic Point

Picnic Point Trail at Intersection with Lake Mendota Path
Picnic Point Trail at Intersection with Lake Mendota Path

Firepit at Picnic Point
Firepit at Picnic Point

Lake Mendota Path at UW Lakeshore Preserve
Lake Mendota Path at UW Lakeshore Preserve

Marsh at UW Lakeshore Preserve
Marsh at UW Lakeshore Preserve

Remnants of the old beach at UW Lakeshore Preserve
Remnants of the old beach at UW Lakeshore Preserve

Biocore Tallgrass Prairie at UW Lakeshore Preserve
Biocore Tallgrass Prairie at UW Lakeshore Preserve

Desks on Lake Mendota at UW Lakeshore Preserve
Desks on Lake Mendota at UW Lakeshore Preserve

Remnants of the Tent Colony along the trail at UW Lakeshore Preserve
Remnants of the Tent Colony along the trail at UW Lakeshore Preserve

Raymers Cove at UW Lakeshore Preserve
Raymers Cove at UW Lakeshore Preserve

Tree on the Big Oak Tree Trail at UW Lakeshore Preserve
Tree on the Big Oak Tree Trail at UW Lakeshore Preserve

Trail through the Biocore Prairie at UW Lakeshore Preserve
Trail through the Biocore Prairie at UW Lakeshore Preserve



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