Last week we went camping at Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin. Despite some rain during our trip we had a great time! Luckily, we hiked on our first day which was rain free.
We hiked the Devil’s Doorway Loop, made up of Grottos Trail, CCC Trail, East Bluff Trail, Devil’s Doorway Trail (if you choose, we recommend it!) and Balanced Rock Trail. I tracked our hike using Map My Fitness, it took us 2:46 minutes and we logged just over 3 miles of hiking and gained 400 feet in elevation. This was a difficult hike for us due to the quick gain in elevation, on the CCC trail. If you are interested, we recommend some practice on the stair stepper!
We decided to start out on Grottos Trail because we wanted to save the Devil’s Doorway and Balanced Rock Trail for last. The beginning portion of this trail is fairly easy as you are just hiking a dirt path with little elevation.
Along Grottos Trail you will find the beautiful hills of quartzite that you will soon be climbing. These large rocks were dropped off the edge of an iceburg 13,000 years ago. We have never seen anything like this before and it was truly an amazing sight.
At the end of Grottos Trail, we began the toughest part of our hike on CCC Trail. This is a short trail of .3 miles, but you gain 315 feet in that short time. This is a difficult and steep portion of the trail that is made from stone steps. When taking this trail be sure to plant your foot on as much of the stone as possible and take your time. Be cautious in the winter or after rain as they can become very slippery!
Once we made it to the top of CCC trail we stopped to enjoy some views, and then continued on to East Bluff Trail. Much of this portion of the trail was paved and there were many beautiful overlooks to stop and take in the beauty of Devil’s Lake.
Finally we made it to Devil’s Doorway Trail! This is a small .1 mile trail that comes off of East Bluff Trail. This is another place we stopped to take in the sights of this beautiful formation with the lake in the background. It is unknown how this structure was created, however many believe it was from water freezing and thawing in the cracks of the quartzite. Regardless of how it was formed, you can’t help but sit back and think about how amazing our world is for creating these unique formations.
Next up, we continued on East Bluff Trail towards Balanced Rock Trail. This portion of the trail made us glad we went the way we did! This portion is incredibly steep. The stone steps seemed to be larger, there was less to grab onto, and sometimes the trail blended into the rest of the surrounding rocks. It was a very unique trail and was an awesome experience, but be vigilant and take your time!
Our final stop was the Balanced Rock. I read that it can be easy to miss, and this is very true! Fortunately, the signs appear a bit more frequently as you get closer, but keep an eye out so you don’t miss it! You can see it up close and personal off the trail, and a couple more times as you begin your decent to the end of the loop. Balanced Rock is a piece of quartzite that broke off from the East Bluff and landed perfectly on another rock. We took some photos, relaxed for a few minutes and continued our decent to the end of the hike.
Overall we would call this a difficult hike, it is recommended to avoid in the winter as the rocks can become very slippery and unsafe. We did run out of water as it was quite humid and the climb took a lot out of us, so bring a little extra water than you typically would! We had such a great time and are looking forward to going back so we can continue training for a difficult hike we have coming up in a couple months.
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