Yellowstone Lake State Park is in the driftless area of southwest Wisconsin. LocationThis 1,000-acre park, has a 455-acre lake, which offers visitors ample space to enjoy camping, swimming, fishing, boating, hiking, biking and picnicking. In winter the park is open to ice fishing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
Activities and recreation
The 4,000-acre Yellowstone Wildlife Area next to Yellowstone State Park offers many additional recreation opportunities, including horse trails and a shooting range. The wildlife area is managed by the DNR.
Yellowstone Lake has more than 13 miles of hiking trails. Trails may vary in difficulty. Steep climbs or descents and stairways may be encountered. Use caution when on steep bluffs or near a cliff. Stay well away from cliffs which are not protected by a barricade or barrier. Stay behind barricades and barriers where provided and watch small children closely. The main trail head is located at the bottom of Campground Hill Road.
Yellowstone Lake State Park provides four miles of off-road biking trails. The park roads and trails are heavily used, so bikers should always be alert to traffic and pedestrians.
Yellowstone Lake State Park offers 128 individual campsites; 108 are reservable and 38 have electrical hookups. The campground is open April through November.
Vault toilets and drinking water are available year-round. A dumping station, flush toilets and showers are available seasonally.
Campsites 42 and 49 have electricity and are accessible to visitors with disabilities. Accessible flush toilets and showers are also available in the campground. At the west end of the park is an accessible picnic shelter and vault toilets and at the lower boat landing there is an accessible fishing and picnic area.
There are five reservable, tent-only, group sites. Sites 201-203 have electrical hookups. Sites 201-203 and 206 allow 25 people per site. Site 204 is a larger site and allows up to 50 people. Group site 206 is a walk-in site and is about 50 yards from the closest parking area.
Picnic areas and playgrounds
There are nine designated picnic areas. The picnic shelter is at the west end of the lake and is available for rental. These day use and picnic areas do not have garbage or recycling bins, so please remember to practice carry in, carry out.
Pets are not allowed in the picnic, beach or playground areas. There are designated pet areas west of the beach. Please remember that pets must be on a leash no longer than 8 feet.
Boating, canoeing and kayaking
This 455-acre lake is shared by boats, kayaks, canoes, sailboats and other personal watercraft. There are two boat launching ramps and one canoe launch. A concession stand and boat rentals are located at the east end of the lake and are available during summer.
Yellowstone Lake has a designated swimming beach and a bathhouse nearby. No lifeguards are on duty.
Yellowstone Lake has an abundant population of crappies, walleye and other game fish. Fishing opportunities also exist for bass, bluegill, channel catfish, muskies and northern pike. The lake (including the Yellowstone River from the lake upstream to County Highway F) is open to fishing with the following regulations.
Walleye, sauger and their hybrids between 15 inches and 18 inches, channel and flathead catfish between 15 inches and 24 inches and largemouth and smallmouth bass between 12 inches and 15 inches may be kept with a daily combined bag limit of two fish in total.
Catch and release only on northern pike, muskellunge, their hybrids, gar and bowfin.
Anglers of any age may check out basic fishing equipment free of charge at the park office. This equipment was donated by the Tackle Loaner Program. Call the park office to find out what equipment is available.
Hunting and trapping
Hunting and trapping are allowed in the open areas of the park during the Wisconsin state parks hunting and trapping time frame. Trapping is not permitted in closed areas as noted on the park hunting map or within 100 yards of any designated use area, including trails. Certain trap types are restricted on state park properties.
There are five miles of trail that are groomed and tracked for cross-country skiing as conditions and staffing allow. A Wisconsin State Park trail pass is not required at Yellowstone Lake, but a vehicle admission sticker is needed.
There are seven miles of snowmobile trail within the park, which also connects with Lafayette County snowmobile trails. Wisconsin requires those who use snowmobile trails to display either a Wisconsin registration or a non-resident snowmobile trail pass.
The opening and closing of snowmobile trails is at the discretion of each county. Snowmobile trails which cross DNR lands are opened and closed consistent with the surrounding county (or counties). Whenever possible, the opening and closing of snowmobile trails is done on a county-wide basis, however localized conditions may require localized trail opening and closing. It is the responsibility of the county to provide notification about the status of snowmobile trails.
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