New Glarus Woods State Park
Updated: Jun 3, 2022
Pre-visit research on New Glarus Woods State Park yielded little more than the standard "dogs allowed on leash" — boiler plate that can be found on most of the WI State Park pages. But considering this was our first official #wistateparkdogs excursion, the less information the better! The park was a blank slate for us to explore and report back on.
Although we missed taking in peak fall foliage by a weekend or two, we didn't miss out on taking advantage of a 70 degree day at the end of October. New Glarus Woods SP is an easy day trip from Madison, and though the park is small, the Havenridge Trail offers four miles of easy hiking, which beats walking our same old loop around the neighborhood any day.
Date of Visit: October 29th
Trails Hiked: Havenridge Trail
Best for Breeds: S, M, L, XL
Dog Fitness Level: couch potato to weekend warrior
Human Fitness Level: couch potato to weekend warrior
Water Availability: Water fountain was turned off at this time of year
Bathrooms for Humans: pit toilets
Trashcans for Dog Waste: none available at this time of year
Pros: The trail runs mostly through the woods, but there are also sections through a meadow and prairie. In most areas, the trail is wide enough to allow for easy passing, even if both parties have dogs (although we didn't see many people or dogs during this visit). Having ample room for passing is something I pay particular attention to because Lucky is still working on calmly passing, and being passed by, other dogs.
The Havenridge Trail is mostly flat, with a few inclines that are too short to be considered hills, which is why I think it's a great trail for dogs of all sizes and hikers and dogs of all fitness levels. New Glarus Woods SP has a few shorter trails and smaller loops too, so if you're looking for an "Intro to Hiking with Your Dog," this is the park for you. The trail is also incredibly well marked with regular trail markers and maps at each trail junction.
This would also be a great option for trail running or snowshoeing with your dog.
Bonus Pro: After your visit to the park, you can stop at New Glarus Brewery for a beer. The outdoor patio area is dog friendly, so we brought some snacks along and had a picnic and pint after our easy four mile hike.
Cons: There wasn't anything we downright didn't like about this park. And the things that fall into this category of cons could be entirely due to the season. At some points along the trail, we could hear noise from the highways that run along the edges of the park. The noise pollution is probably greater at this time because the trees are barren.
Also, the lack of trash cans (also seasonal?) meant transporting the bagged dog poop in the back of the car. Thankfully I was able to dispose of it at the brewery, but I could certainly imagine other scenarios where I forget about the poop and my Renegade finally looses its new car smell.
Want to know more about hiking with your dog at New Glarus Woods State Park? Order your copy of A Dog Lover's Guide to Hiking Wisconsin's State Parks now!
Through the University of Wisconsin Press site.
And if you must, through Amazon.