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“Poor traditional skiing trails” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of Elver Park

Elver Park
Ranked #53 of 95 things to do in Madison
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Attraction details
Owner description: Favorite place for residents and visitors to play in the winter with open skating, hockey, sledding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
26 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Poor traditional skiing trails”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 January 2014

We came to Madison to do some skiing and skating. The skiing at Elver Park is definitely geared toward the skating style of skiing. Unfortunately, we were doing traditional cross country skiing. The trails were in very poor condition. A total waste of $14.00. Very dissappointing.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank Go_to_AZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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15 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    4
    7
    3
    0
    1
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Redmond, Washington
Level Contributor
98 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
“Lots to do at all times of the year”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 December 2013

I grew up on the Southwest side of Madison so I watched Elver Park take shape starting in the late 1970s and have spent a lot of time there over the years. When I return to Madison for a family visit, I almost always include a trip to the park for one reason or another . . . sledding, hiking, jogging.

There is a lot to do at Elver Park . . . summertime visitors may enjoy Frisbee golf, basketball and tennis courts. July 4 fireworks are an annual "happening". There are a number of soccer and softball fields. A "splash park" is in the plans and as of the time of this review, it is expected to open in late summer 2014. Wintertime visitors may enjoy the finest sledding hill in Madison, hockey and skating, and cross country skiing (included some trails that are lighted at night). Hiking is a year-round option through the varied terrain . . . flat lowlands and hills (from which you can see the Wisconsin State Capitol), pine and deciduous forests, meadows, ponds. Winter hikers should be considerate by not damaging the grooming of the cross country ski trails.

A little more detail on the sledding hill: it is delightful but can be dangerous, especially if the snow gets packed down and then there's either freezing rain or liquid rain that subsequently freezes, making the slope in essence a downhill ice skating rink. I am frankly (pleasantly) surprised that in our era of nanny government that they allow it. The sledding hill is theoretically open only dawn to dusk, but there is enough spillover light from the ice skating rinks that you can sled well into the evening. I recommend sledding when it is less crowded; that way if your sled twirls around you can enjoy going backwards without having to worry as much that you're going to hit somebody.

Though the park is wonderful, there are a few shortcomings which, if addressed, could serve to make this a world-class 5-star park.

* The park does not fully realize its aesthetic potential . . . there is very little in the way of manicured grass or landscaping, and the ponds seem like they could be a more prominent part of the park experience.
* The playground is kind of lame.
* It is regrettable that the park is not more dog-friendly; you'd think Madison's largest park (227 acres) could incorporate an off-leash dog area.
* It is disappointing that the city does not clear snow from the paved trail that extends from the warming shelter to the old Gammon Road "stub"; a lot of people incorporate this stretch of trail into their jogging or bicycling routes, but it becomes unusable for such purposes when there is snowcover (where the ski trails cross this path, perhaps they could leave just enough snow to facilitate crossing it on skis).

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank kwa829
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Lots of open space”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 May 2013 via mobile

It's a nice park. My kids favorite park to sled in the winter, it gets really crowded during that season. It's beautiful to just walk thru on a summer day. It has a huge disc golf area that my son loves. As far as playground equipment goes not much to rave there and there are questionable kids at best always hanging around over there and many that need to be supervised which aren't. Aside from that aspect it is a nice park. They always have fire works there on the Fourth of July which are spectacular if you're looking to stay away from very overpopulated downtown on that day.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Blmor78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
119 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“XC Skiing!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 March 2013

I rented skis here for $9 and spent a few hours on the trails. I had a great time. The other skiers were of all ages and skill levels. I am a beginner and stayed on the easier trails. There is also a sledding hill and a skating rink.
I will go again. If not for the skiing, then for the skating.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank PaperTiger67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicagoland
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great Winter Fun”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 January 2013

Fabulous hill that allows some major speed! Not for the faint of heart, the broken sled pike near the bottom tells the tale. Also at the park is skating, hockey and cross county skiing. Very reasonable rental rates for all equipment except for sleds, you must bring your own. Bring cash, credit cards not accepted. 5 kids in our group chose to return here for a second day rather than go skiing!

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
Thank Jaime K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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