Dennis Connor is the Land Manager for a number of County Parks and Wildlife Areas including Indian Lake County Park and Walking Iron Recreation Area in Mazomanie. He has been working with Land Management Projects for over 40 years and has some stories to tell.
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 sizable prairie, wooded hillsides with accessible paths and a Chapel partially hidden along a ridge.
Our walk will incorporate the varied features of the park, about 3 miles long. There is an optional 1/2 mile hill climb to St. Mary's Chapel.
Our leaders will have directional microphones to assist in delivering the message clearly as possible. The microphones have added greatly to the quality of the conversations as we walk and make informational stops along the way.
Length, Difficulty & Pace of Walk
A two to three mile walk along wide trails recently mowed through mixed hilly and flat terrain at a moderate pace with informational stops. The walk will take about 2.5 hours,
On a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is very steep, I would rate the hilly trails about a 3.5.
The trails are not handicap accessible, although the picnic area and prairie walk are manageable with a walking stick. Please call Mike at 608 257-9164 to further evaluate the trails.
Driving and Parking Information
We'll meet at the paved main lot on the east as you approach the lake, 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 2.2 miles, the long park entry road is on the left leading to the parking lot and trail head.
Driving map with time estimates. Remember to type in your starting location: directions Indian Lake County Park, 8183 Hwy 19, Cross Plains, 53528
The park has been modernized over the last few years and has:
- a park shelter with picnic tables
- bathrooms near the Park Shelter
- bathrooms near the parking lot
- children's climbing apparatus near the burndd
Questions? Contact trip leader Mike Dilorio at email@example.com
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.