Indian Lake County Park is a beautiful, well maintained Dane County Park that you'll want to return to seasonally. The park features a small lake, a woods covered hills with accessible paths and a Chapel partially hidden along a ridge.
Our walk will be partially wooded, along a new prairie and around Indian Lake, a walk of perhaps 2.9 miles. There is an optional 1/2 mile hill climb to St. Mary's Chapel.
We'll meet at the paved main lot on the east end of the lake, off of State Highway 19 at 8:30 AM. If you are driving from Madison or Middleton, take Hwy 12 for about 19 miles, make the left turn onto Hwy 19. In about 3.2 miles, the long park entry road is on the left leading to the parking lot and trail head.
Directions and Google Map to Indian Lake County Park. Enter your starting address to get a direct route to the trail head - click here.
There are a number of excellent restaurants in Waunakee. We will choose one for the post walk lunch.
Highlights of the Walk
Indian Lake fills a shallow depression formed by a melting glacial ice block in a broad east-west oriented valley walled by bedrock hills. As the Green Bay Lobe melted, a large river of melt water spread across this valley on its way to the Wisconsin River. The Ho-Chunk people frequented the lake for hunting and fishing before European Americans arrived in the area.
Indian Lake County Park is a popular destination for outdoor activities. Eight miles of cross-country ski and hiking trails lace through the 450-acre park. While the IATA segment overlaps some of the park's ski trails, the ice age trail is clearly marked and not difficult to follow.
From the parking area, a side trail leads about 1/2 mile uphill to St. Mary of the Oaks Chapel (look for signage behind and to the right of the main parking area restrooms). The small stone chapel was built in 1857 by a German immigrant, John Enders, to thank God for sparing his family from a deadly epidemic. An overlook near the chapel offers beautiful views of Indian Lake and the surrounding valley.
Back on the main trail, hikers will enter and travel through an oak and maple woods as the segment climbs up and down steep hills and then briefly follows along the south side of Indian Lake. Leaving the woods, the segment crosses meadows, passes by a marsh and skirts around a dog exercise area before returning to the parking lot above a marsh.
Restaurant: There are a number of restaurants in Waunakee, 10 miles east of Indian Lake on Hwy. 19. We will choose one that can handle a group our size.
Indian Lake County Park, east lot 8183 Hwy 19 about 2 miles west of Hwy 12.
+ Google Map