13. Yellowstone Lake State Park

13. Yellowstone Lake State Park

First full day of summer, June 22, seemed like a good day to visit Yellowstone Lake State Park. It’s about an hour southwest of Madison, near Blanchardville. The drive is beautiful, with Google routing me on some county roads along a ridge through farm country.

Yellowstone wildflower
Don’t know much about wildflowers, but something was blooming along the Prairie Loop trail.

According to the park system visitor guide, the park is an even 1,000 acres. There’s camping, along with lots of lake activities — boating, swimming and fishing. The area by the dam on the east end of the lake seemed like a popular place for fishing. There’s a concession building, with kayaks and bikes for rent.

There are 12 miles of trails. I hiked the Oak Ridge and Prairie Loop trails on the west side of the park. It was a beautiful Saturday (although a bit cloudy), but the trails certainly weren’t crowded. I saw a half dozen or so other hikers. No bugs, even though there was a lot of shade on the trails I chose.

Have to admit, I was a bit concerned about wood ticks. The trails hadn’t been mowed in a while, and the grass was fairly high. Seemed like good tick habitat. So, I wore the hiking pants and hat that I had treated with Permethrin. And, I had a Buff that came with some sort of bug repellant, so I had that around my neck. I had put some repellant on my arms. Seemed like I was pretty well covered from top to bottom. Fortunately, it wasn’t too warm, and there was a fair amount of shade. Otherwise, the anti-tick outfit would have been pretty warm. (I did pass on the “bug shirt” from Duluth Trading. It seems to do a good job of repelling mosquitoes and probably ticks, but it’s super warm. )

All the wood tick paranoia seemed to work. Didn’t find any ticks, although I did take a shower as soon as I got home — just in case. (I had found a tick after hiking at the Ice Age Trail complex. It was on the treated leg of the hiking pants and seemed to be trying to jump off. I gave it a boost!)

One of the downsides of hiking in Wisconsin in the summer is wood ticks. Over the years, I’ve been more concerned about them and do take more precautions. Lyme Disease is a significant risk.

Yellowstone Lake dam
The dam on the east side of Yellowstone Lake State Park


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