New Glarus Woods State Park

Faced with involuntary servitude this fall, Julia and I escaped to a nearby state park last week for a few days.

New Glarus Woods is about 30 minutes south of Madison, Wisconsin. It’s a small park with a rustic campground ($15 per night).

The park has several assets: a great 5 mile nature trail, a beautiful restored prairie, and a bike/footpath into the nearby town of New Glarus (a tourist destination with Swiss themes).

Good thing it’s plastic

Someone tell Callie that it isn’t real

On the negative side, the park was poorly maintained during our visit. There was lots of trash in the parking lots and some at our campsite. A broken water spigot was left running all night. State park staff drive through without picking up or making repairs. Not their job I guess.

There are no electrical hookups. Sites are very wooded, making solar a game of catching a few rays by moving ones solar panels frequently. Generators are not allowed in Wisconsin State Parks.

Nevertheless, we made the best of things. We did lots of hiking. Julia kayaked the Sugar River. We picked up Amish baked goods and vegetables at a local farmer’s market, and we took in a wine tasting and appetizers at the local brewery/winery/distillery in nearby Monroe.

We had campfires every night, and it was a welcome respite, ahead of a possibly challenging fall for our family.

I’m going to squeeze in one more late summer trip while I still can.


  1. Got to take it where you can get it!

    I was just on the phone to Mom and she once again told me not to do anymore camping in this heat. I didn't tell her that I had just been on-line looking for open campsites I could get into in a couple weeks.

  2. Also, when you can take it. As a member of the pessimist/realist club, these might be the golden days.

  3. Does Julia look at maps of the river(s) before she kayaks? Have always wondered whether folks who do that, kayak, just get in and go and "deal" with what they encounter, or if they do any pre-trip checking for waterfalls, 'gators, piranhas?

    1. Yes, she does. The Sugar River has dams that need to be portaged. She also researched pickup and dropoff points. During her 3-4 hour trip, she didn't see any other people on the water.


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