Devils Lake State Park
Guide

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Introduction

The uniqueness and absurdity of this park’s name do no justice to the park itself. In fact, Devil’s Lake State Park is much more interesting than that. If it could be known for one thing and one thing only, it would be the long list of wild and unlikely events that have taken place here over the course of many many years. Founded all the way back in 1911, a lot has happened here. There are tales of elephants being in the lake, and of a man winning a grease-pole climbing contest for $5 by rubbing sand on his body. Ulysses S. Grant had visited the park before, and so had Abraham Lincoln’s wife.

There’s so much unique history to this park, and you can learn all about it when you visit for yourself. When you bring your RV, you’ll find plenty of activities to get into. There are many miles of trails to hike, and the lake here provides many opportunities for boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming, and more. There are many things to do in the winter time here as well such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Whenever you decide to visit with your RV, you’ll be guaranteed a great trip here at Devil’s Lake State Park.

RV Rentals in Devils Lake State Park

Transportation in Devils Lake State Park

Driving

In the campground, there are many one-way roads, so you’ll need to keep this in mind and be careful when driving the RV to your chosen campsite. Other than the one-way roads at the campgrounds, there are no other driving restrictions for RVs. You can also pick up maps here to make navigating the park easier.

Parking

It is recommended that you set up your RV at your chosen campsite first before venturing out in the park, as there is not a lot of RV parking available. While there are overflow parking options when the park gets fuller, many of these parking spots are for single, smaller vehicles only.

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Devils Lake State Park

Campsites in Devils Lake State Park

Reservations camping

Ice Age Campground

If you choose to stay at the pet-friendly Ice Age Campground, you’ll need to be aware that there are no electric hookups available. Most campers come to this campground with tents and pop-up campers, but RVs are still welcome. The campground is also divided into two sections - the lower and upper Ice Age. The lower half has 89 sites, and the upper half has 134 sites available.

All in all, you’ll find two bathroom facilities with running water, toilets, and showers, and you’ll also find seven other toilet buildings with pit toilets only. You'll also be close to the Ice Age Store, which offers supplies. Expect to be surrounded by woods here. You can enjoy use of a picnic table and fire ring at your site. Plus, you can park your tent or pitch your tent on a paved or gravel pad. This campground is open from April until October. Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance.

Northern Lights Campground

This pet-friendly campground is open from April until October and has 142 sites available for RV and tent camping. 71 of these sites do have electric hookups for your RV, but the rest do not. So when picking out a camping spot, be sure to get the one you want, as hookups are hit or miss on the sites. Your site will be located on a gravel or paved pad with a picnic table and fire ring. You can choose a site on beautiful open grass or under the majestic shade of the forest.

This campground is the oldest one in the park, as it was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and opened in 1939. There are four bathroom facilities located here with toilets and showers, and there’s also a dump station nearby. When you stay at the Northern Lights Campground, you’ll be half a mile from the lake and also close to a playground. Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance.

First-come first-served

Quartzite Campground

This pet-friendly campground consists of 91 sites. While most of the sites are reservation only, this is the only campground that does have a first-come, first-served option for the first 10 sites. This campground is fairly spacious while also offering shade from trees, which makes it one of the more ideal campgrounds for large RVs. This is also the only campground that stays open year round. 75 of the sites at Quartzite do have electric hookups, while the rest don’t. There is also a dump station and playground nearby for your convenience. You’ll also be closest to the park entrance and picnic area, while only being less than half a mile away from the lake. You'll find a picnic table and fire ring at your site, plus a gravel or paved pad. Most sites are located on a beautiful grassy knoll with lush trees scattered around the campground.

Alternate camping

Shelter Camping

If you’ve decided that you want to try something a little different than the typical RV camping trip, and maybe you’re meeting up with some other people as a larger group, shelter camping might be a good choice for you. There are 10 shelters located throughout Devil’s Lake State Park, and each one can hold anywhere from 40 to 100 people. Half of the shelters are reservable, while the other half of them are first-come, first-served only. You can make reservations up to 11 month in advance, and when you reserve a shelter, you’ll be guaranteed to have electricity and tables.

Seasonal activities in Devils Lake State Park

In-Season

Rock Climbing

If you’re an experienced rock climber or boulderer, you’ll be happy to hear that there are rock climbing opportunities here for you. The rock climbing areas are not maintained though, so it’s important that you have lots of experience under you and are willing to accept the risks that come along with climbing. As long as you take precautions, this is a thrilling activity you can enjoy during your RV road trip to Wisconsin.

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is a fairly popular activity at Devil’s Lake State Park. There’s lots that you can see under the water, but you’ll want to make sure you do it safely. Never go scuba diving alone, and always use a diving flag so that people know where you are.

Swimming

There are two beaches where you can take a relaxing swim, and each one has a bathhouse where you can get ready and clean up afterward. Keep in mind though when swimming here that there have been reports of swimmer’s itch, so they recommend that you scrub off with a towel and shower immediately after getting out of the water.

Boating

There are two boat landings located along different areas that you can use here if you’ve brought your boat. Keep in mind that only electric boats are allowed though- no motorized boats. You can also rent canoes and kayaks at the concession areas, and there’s even kayaking options for those with disabilities.

Exploring the Trails

There are 29 miles of trails in this park, and you’ll be sure to find trails that meet your needs. One and a half miles are available for those with disabilities, and these include Tumbled Rocks Trail and Grottos Trail. There are also four miles available for off-road biking, if you’ve brought your bicycle with you on this trip.

Off-Season

Geocaching

That’s right, you can still go geocaching in the winter time. Geocaching is a modern day version of going on a scavenger hunt. All you’ll need to do is download the GPS coordinates and get out there to find the geocaches. The cold and snow add an extra layer of fun challenge to this activity.

Visiting the Nature Center

The winters can be a bit harsh in Wisconsin, but still fun nonetheless. So if you're taking your RV trip in the winter and need to step indoors to get a break from the cold for a bit, you can visit the Nature Center. During the winter, the Nature Center is usually opened on Saturdays, so don’t miss your chance to check it out. This can be a great way to learn a thing or two.

Ice Fishing

Even in the dead of winter when the lake has frozen over, the fish are alive and flourishing under the surface. When the ice is thick enough, you can venture out, drill a hole, and see how many fish you can catch. You’ll be able to catch trout, pike, and much more. Just be sure to take special precautions being out on the ice.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing can also be done anywhere in the park, although there are a few places where it is not ideal, such as trails that have steep hills or steps in the way. You can rent snowshoes from the Nature Center, but keep in mind that they’re only available on a first-come, first-served basis, so if it’s a busy day, they might run out of snowshoes to hand out.

Cross-Country Skiing

When the snow covers the ground, you can come skiing just about anywhere here in the park. You’ll need to bring your own skis with you though in your camper, as the park does not provide any. Also, keep in mind that none of the park is groomed or kept up for skiers, but it can still be a fun family activity.

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