This week in Camp Wisconsin we are exploring the home of Wisconsin’s State Park system first barrier free cabin and where the first in the world a Frank Lloyd Wright designed house was available for rental occupancy, Mirror Lake State Park! This park got its name because of the lake that is surrounded by its wooded shores and 50 foot cliffs that help keep wind of the water and looking mirror smooth. Although some people would attest this statement being that the lake can get quite weedy and is to dark of water for some to swim. We personally never got to test swimming in the water because we were there the first part of October and the nights were dipping down to the first freezing ones of the season. Lucky us!! You’ll find if you keep up with this Camp Wisconsin Series that most if not all of our trips has something go wrong especially with the weather. It’s to the point we need to warn people of our upcoming adventures so they don’t plan any outdoor activities because its guaranteed to rain/storm.
We happened upon Mirror Lake State Part due to procrastination and actually turned out pretty happy that we did. Our original plans were to book a weekend at Devils Lake thinking that it wouldn’t be full during October weekends. Well when I finally got around to booking a site they were indeed full and directed me over to Mirror Lake which had plenty of sites available. So learn from my mistakes here and book right when you make the plans, less stress.
Mirror Lake State Park is located off Highway 12 on Fern Dell Road in Baraboo WI. Covering over 2,ooo acres it has more than plenty to offer from camping, hiking, swimming, boating and rentals. They have a little something for everyone and I honestly can not think of any downfalls to the place other than pets are not allowed on 2 designated nature trails, beach or picnic area. Other than that I have nothing but good here on out.
Camping – Over 150 sites in 3 different Campgrounds. Sites vary with *Electric/$30 per night *Non Electric/$20 per night *Group Non Electric/$40 per night *Walk to Non Electric/$20 per night. They also have first come first serve sites which are usually non electric and $20 a night. All sites have a fire ring, picnic table and sand tent pad. Firewood is available for purchase only with CASH or CHECK from campground host.
Campgrounds in order from park entrance
- Bluewater Bay Campground has 63 sites in four loops all non electric. Also includes Showers, flush and pit toilets, potable water, playground, shelter available to rent with parking, large open field and hiking trails leading to beach area. This is the campground we stayed in at sites 1 and 2. The sites were very spacious, two tents, a boat and 2 vehicles all fit on ours with room to gather around the fire comfortably. The two sites were connected with a trail to both flush and pit bathrooms.
2. Sandstone Ridge Campground – 68 sites in one large loop with 2 small side loops that include 4 walk in sites and a loop of non-reservable electric sites. Includes a site that is accessible, showers, flush/pit toilet, water and is a very short hike to the boat landing, fishing pier and beach area.
3. Cliffwood Campground – 35 sites, 26 electric and one accessible. Some of these sites are a bit different they are called double sites. 2 sites share 1 driveway. You don’t have to reserve both so it could be weird or uncomfortable to some people to have to share a driveway while on a camping trip. This campground includes showers, flush and pit toilets, water, hiking trails and the accessible cabin that you can rent.
“Cabin in the Woods” is Wisconsin’s State Park system first barrier free cabin. The cabin can house 6 and can be rented May 15th thru Oct 15. for a MAX of 4 nights per year at $30.00 per night with a non refundable $4 reservation fee.
Seth Peterson Cottage is the name of the first in the world Frank Lloyd Wright designed home available for rental occupancy and it can be found right here in Mirror Lake State Park. At a pretty penny you could enjoy this beauty that sleeps 2 with a fold-out for an additional 2. A whopping $325 price tag per night and a minimum stay of 2 nights. I would be booking ASAP as they fill up ridiculously fast.
Hiking – Mirror Lake offers over 19 miles of hiking with 17 different trails. The longest one being a 3 mile loop and Lakeview Trail coming in the shortest at .20 miles. We managed to hike part of the Kilbourn Trail(.80mi), Lakeview trail(.20mi), Echo Rock trail(.60 mi), and Ishnala Trail(2.2mi).
Kilbourn trail was a wide mowed trail that leads to the general beach area.
Lakeview trail is a .20 mile trail that does just that follows the lake line up to the boat landing. There is wooded area between the lake and you on trail so the views are not spectacular until you get to the boat landing
Echo Rock Trail is paved and accessible.
Collage of pics includes parts of the Echo Rock and Ishnala Trails that brings you across the bridge and around the giant rock formations that are really cool to hike around and photograph. Keep an eye on children as you can see in the one picture the trail is narrow and the sides steep to the lake.
We are hoping to make it back at some point and check out the rest of the trails. Maybe for my 52 Week Hike Challenge??
Biking – 9 miles of off road Bike trails open only from May 1st thru October 31st weather permitting. Closed during winter months for cross country skiing.
The Beach is swim at your own risk with no lifeguards on duty and has vault toilets NO changing rooms.
2 of the 3 Playgrounds, 1 of 3 Shelters to rent and 1 of 2 Volleyball Courts available can be found in the beach area with the other ones located in Bluewater Bay Campground. The 3rd shelter can be found by the boat landing. All shelters can be rented and vary in occupancy size.
Mirror Lake is very good for Boating, Canoeing and Kayaking being that the whole lake is a slow no-wake zone. The lake has 2 boat landings one in the park and the other is off park land. The park offers rentals of boat, canoe, kayak and specially adapted kayaks for persons of disabilities all summer from the concession stand located near the boat landing. I am unsure of prices and could not locate any when writing this.
Fishing – Mirror Lake is 137 acres and home to a variety of fish. Most popular being bass, northern and panfish. Cool note fisherman of any age can check out basic fishing gear free of charge at the park office. I haven’t been to many parks that offer that.
We made it out fishing for just a little bit and had no luck but I did manage to get an adorable picture with Phoenix.
Winter Activities include cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Just keep in mind that snowshoers, hikers or pets are NOT allowed on trails groomed specifically for skiing. State Trail Pass is required for 16 and older.
I hope you found some if not all this info helpful in narrowing down your next camping adventure. We truly enjoyed our weekend here and would definitely go back. I really want to kayak that lake.
Mirror Lake is also very close to many other area attractions being in the Dells area.
For more information visit the DNR website. Make reservations at ReserveAmerica.com.
Thank you for your interest. Please click follow if you find this Camp Wisconsin Series helpful and to keep it going. An easier way to follow along is to find Wandering Nirvana on Facebook.