With the COVID-19 pandemic still in the backdrop of our daily lives, so many people in our MCMS community are spending extra time enjoying the great outdoors with friends and family. Building on the innovative Learning Out program MCMS adopted this year, we reached out to our MCMS staff for their trusted advice about which parks are a “must-do” for MCMS families! We hope our school families might use the map below to build community together, gathering safely outside to explore all the amazing public spaces we have available in our area. Make sure to check their website ahead of visiting, as some park facilities may be closed or have limited hours due to weather or COVID-19.

Click the image above for a printable and clickable PDF

Blue Mound State Park has plenty of hiking and biking trails for every ability and two 100 foot watch towers you can climb to take in amazing views. You must have a Wisconsin State Parks Admission Sticker to enjoy this park.

Dr Evermore’s Forevertron, though not exactly a public park, is a must see. It is a wacky outdoor art exhibit that is connected to Delaney’s Suplus store.  It boast the “World’s Largest Scrap Metal Sculpture” that stands in the middle of an outdoor sculpture garden.

Festge County Park* has a scenic view 100 feet above the Black Earth Creek Valley, hiking trails, play equipment, and shaded areas for family picnics.

Governor Dodge State Park has a cave hike you can go into and a waterfall / spring house ruins where the water still runs and can be drank. There’s picnicking, hiking, canoeing, biking, hunting, fishing, off-road biking, cross-country skiing and horseback riding opportunities. You must have a Wisconsin State Parks Admission Sticker to enjoy this park.

Governor Nelson State Park* has a sand beach, boat launch, fish cleaning facility, picnic areas and playground equipment, prairie restorations and over 8 miles of trails. You can also hike to Native American effigy mounds that can be seen on the Woodland Trail. You must have a Wisconsin State Parks Admission Sticker to enjoy this park.

The Ice Age Trail* traverses much of the state of Wisconsin, highlighting the unique landscape left behind as glaciers retreated after the last ice age. Many trailheads are easily accessible from the Madison area, and feature bluffs, prairie, and forest systems depending on the area.

Indian Lake County Park* has plenty of trails for every age and ability, a historic chapel atop a beautiful hilltop, a dog park, and boat launch. Don’t forget to check out the ruins of a 100 year old farm house nearby.

Pheasant Branch Conservancy* consists of wetlands and prairies. It has a beautiful creek that runs through it, play equipment, and plenty of hiking and biking trails.

Picnic Point is part of the UW lakeshore preserve. It is a great hike and can also be accessed by canoes that are available for rent at Memorial Union.

Pope Farm Conservancy offers rolling prairie trails that make it a place for young families to run and explore, close to town.

The UW Arboretum* has nature walks for every age, effigy mounts, and 4 miles of paved road through woodlands, wetlands, and prairie for biking and running.

*This park was explored by MCMS students at Learning Out during the 2020-21 school year – ask an MCMS student which park was their favorite!