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“Great park, but camping facilities fall a little short”

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Devil's Lake State Park
Reviewed 1 July 2013

This review really needs to be divided into two different parts.

First is a review of the park as a place to spend the day. Absolutely Devils Lake earns a 5-star rating for that. Over 4 days we hiked, we fished, we kayaked, we swam, and we will likely go back for more of all the above. The hiking, in particular, was spectacular. If you're into rock climbing and/or rappelling, you'll find plenty of locations to do that too. The lake is clean and quiet; not motors are allowed other than electric trolling motors. We even saw a few snorkelers. The beach front concessions area was nice, the boat rentals reasonably priced. The experience was worth well more than the price of the vehicle admission sticker.

Our camping experience, however, rated more like a 3. Factoring in the reservation fee, we paid nearly $30 a night for our site. That included electric service but no water hook-up. I could live with the fact that the drive was gravel, not paved. The sparseness of the gravel on the drive, however, was disappointing. As soon as a it rained, the drive became a muddy rocky stew. Most of the other drives in the Quartzite and Northern Lights areas looked the same. A few were paved, but those appeared to be specifically for handicapped individuals.

Speaking of mud, it was the predominate surface of much of our site. Given that the fire pit and picnic table were on a terraced area above the drive, it meant negotiating a muddy slope every time you transitioned between that area and the camper or car. Everybody in our group slipped at least once, some several times. Luckily nobody hurt anything other than their pride. A sprinkling of gravel on this slope, or a set of steps,

As for the bathroom facilities, we found them be adequate if not remarkable. And the size of most of the individual sites seemed quite generous.

We scouted for potential sites for future visits. While there were certainly better spots than the one we were at (Quartzite 26), there were none that seemed outstanding. All had various compromises like excessive slope, poor drive quality, no privacy, backed up to railroad tracks/highway, lack of shade, and/or lack of grass.

We will almost certainly go back to Devils lake sometime for the activities because we had such a good time. We might consider one of the various private camp sites in the area, however, for a place to stay.

Room Tip: Avoid campsite 26 in the Quartzite area. If it rains, you have to negotiate a slippery, muddy slope...
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Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
5  Thank gpatrick95
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 24 September 2012

I just went camping with my wife and friends at this great park this last weekend. We had a great time on a very large campsite. We were on site 454 in the Ice Age campground, which was very large, probably enough room for 4-5 tents, although you might not be able to have that many people on your site at once according to the rules on their site. Either way, our friends that camped in site 453 always came over to our site to sit around the fire, and eat meals. Our site was backed up against the road that goes through the campsites, but for the most part there was hardly any traffic on the road, so that wasn't an issue with us. What was great was that across that road was the dumpster and shower rooms. A very short walk to both, which we liked a lot. There was no smell at all at our site, just the convenience of being close to the facilities.

There are a lot of hills at Devil's lake, which makes for great hiking, and really great views from around the lake. Unfortunately when we went we got thunderstorms the first night, and the lows got down in the 30's , this made for a very cold weekend. We wanted to spend more time hiking and biking, but with the rain we didn't get to do as much as we wanted. There are canoes and kayaks to rent as well, which we didn't have time to do. There are good rocks for bouldering if you are into that, plenty of trails for hiking, and some trails for mountain biking too. I will definitely be going back for longer than a weekend to try out some of the other hiking and mountain bike trails.

The reason for the 4 out of 5 rating is because the bathrooms are not the best I have seen at a Wisconsin State Park. The showers require that you constantly push the button to keep them on. If you just push the button, the stream lasts maybe 3 seconds tops, which can be very annoying when it is 40 degrees outside. The other reason is the lack of signs for the campgrounds. It is easy to get lost when arriving at night looking for your site. Other than those two things, Devil's Lake State Park is a great place to camp and hike more than anything else. If you are going to camp in the middle of the summer, book as early as possible to get a good site as they fill up quickly in the summer months.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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3  Thank Chris K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2011

When I looked on here, I was like "how could you not give this
Place 5 stars??!" but then one other reviewer reminded me of the pit toilets! I'm an outdoorsy girl and can handle a port-a-potty, these pit toilets were just terrible! I've got a lot to compare these toilets too and they were so filthy, overfilled, and teeming with spiders (I do have a real nasty fear of spiders though!!) that these toilets made me cry, ha ha, that I would have to use them for the next 4 days! I was about ready to leave the park. But, when we later drive around the camping area, we did find a better set of flush toilets that were still not cleaned, had lots of bugs, and was out of soap 2 of our 3 nights, BUT, it was doable!!

Besides the terrible toilet facilities, Devil's Lake is a Dream campground!!! U can fish off the sidewalk ( we caught one small fish- but we don't normally fish- other people were catching more), swim at 2 huge, clear, and beautiful beaches!!!!, hike some of the coolest and most scenic and fun trails I've hiked on (I hike A LOT)!!! Devil's lake was just flat out amazing!! Any time we go to Wi. Dells, we drive on the devil's lake! Even as u enter the park, it's like entering an enchanted forest, it's just truly beautiful and you can see God's hand all over it!!

  • Stayed: June 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank HijaDelRey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2011

This is a state park so you will either need to buy a state park pass or a day pass. Also if you wish to camp, BOOK EARLY. It fills up very very quickly, especially the electric campsites. We stayed in the Ice Age campground which was very shaded which was nice on a hot day. There are other campsite areas without any shade so it helps to check out the map of the campsites before booking.

Bathrooms were ok. The pit toilets near us were fairly full and smelled really bad. The flush toilets/shower area was ok. The showers were a little annoying because there was nowhere to really set your clothes while you shower.

The hiking trails were great and the whole park just beautiful. Bring good walking shoes, sunscreen and bug spray.

Room Tip: Book EARLY, and check the campsite maps.
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Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
1  Thank compressedairjunkie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Devil's Lake State Park

Address: S5975 Park Rd, Baraboo, WI 53913-9299
Region: United States > Wisconsin > Baraboo
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 9 Speciality Lodging in Baraboo
Also Known As:
Devils Lake State Park Hotel

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