Perched atop the highest point in southern Wisconsin at 1,719 feet of elevation, the Blue Mound State Park offers spectacular views, camping, hiking, cycling, mountain biking, and an outdoor pool and splash pad. Located less than an hour from Madison, this is a great park for families and solo travelers alike.
The Blue Mound campground is open year-round and offers 77 wooded sites, 12 bike/hike-in sites and a rustic accessible cabin for people with disabilities. Each site has a tent pad, picnic table, and fire ring. We didn’t camp this trip but drove through, and it was great to see that all campsites are wooded and relatively private, even in Winter.
The park has 15.5 miles singletrack bicycle trails. Trails are open spring, summer and fall unless wet trail conditions exist. Trails are closed during winter. Riders 16 and over are required to possess a state trail pass. Along with the trails, the park offers access to the Military Ridge State Trail. A rail to trail conversion, the trail follows the path of an 1855 military route between Dodgeville and Madison. The Trail is open to bicycling, hiking and snowmobiles (when there is enough snow).
Blue Mound State Park is also the staging area for the Horribly Hilly Hundreds, a charity bike ride. Riders can expect up to 124.2 miles of riding, 40 significant rises, for a total of 10,700 feet of elevation gain.
Blue Mound State Park is the only Wisconsin state park with an aquatic center, which includes a pool and a multi-feature splash pad. The 80 degree warm swimming pool has a minimum depth of 3 feet with a maximum depth of 4 feet so it’s ideal to use on a hot day.
While all ten of the park’s trails in the park are open to hiking, there are three trails designated as hiking-only in spring, summer and fall. The trails we hiked were narrow, winding, and moved up and down the hillsides, with plenty of rocks and stones underfoot to make it interesting. Several of the trails are groomed for cross-country skiing, weather permitting.
I couldn’t find anything about caves at the State Park, but Cave of the Mounds (a National Natural Landmark) is just down the road and well worth visiting, especially if you have young children.
We climbed both observation towers at each end of the wide open picnic area. The towers are 40 feet high and equipped with a landmark locator (sort of like a telescope but with no magnification) to help pinpoint the location of various cities and geologic features. The panoramic views at the top of the towers are worth the climb.
Hunting and trapping are allowed in the open areas of the park during the Wisconsin state parks hunting and trapping time frame.
Things to remember: A vehicle admission sticker is required. Dogs are permitted, but must be leashed at all times
Directions to the State Park: