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Topic: Gov Dodge State Park (Wisconsin), Backpacking sites and horse trails< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 17 2013, 9:34 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

While in Wisconsin next month, I was thinking about spending a couple nights in GDSP and figured the backpacking sites would be nice.

Two questions.

First, what are the backpacking campsites like? I know they're not really "backpacking" sites, more appropriately "hike in" sites, but probably better than the campground sites.

Second, what is the horse trail like for hiking?  I'm planning to hike from the backpacking site to the Pine Cliff Trail and back as a day hike.  Any input, route, etc would be great.

Thanks.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 17 2013, 10:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I haven't been down there for a long time
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 17 2013, 11:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've never actually checked out the backpacking sites at Dodge, but they probably are nicer than the family car campgrounds. Yeah, being only a half-mile from the parking lot, they're more like an extended walk-in campsite.  A shame too, as there is plenty of space in the park for real backpacking sites along the outter horse loop trail.

The horse trail is fantastic for hiking; every year I do the whole 15-mile loop, and other times I combine parts of it with the other trails to form custom loops.  What route are you considering?  If you clockwise from the BP parking lot, you'll first go through the group camp area, which is a rather dull walk.  Going north from the group camp  there is an uphill climb to the northern point of the trail, passing by a small cliff/rock outcropping. From there it is mostly downhill all the way to the Twin Valley Lake dam, with more rock outcroppings visible; at one point there is a nice mini "butte" just off the trail, though it might be partially hidden by summer growth and leaves.  From the dam the trail goes uphill-and uphill--then goes through a nice "rollercoaster" section until finally reaching another ridge top not too far away from the junction with the paved Mil Ridge access path.  From the junction there are more downhills and uphills and another ridgetop walk, then comes a long descent to the junction with the Pine Cliff Trail.

That's the long option, a shorter route would be to head counter-clockwise (westward from the BP parking lot) on the horse trail, then take the Old Orchard Pass trail to the inner park trails to Cox Hollow Laker then to the Pine Cliff Trail.  If you instead go westward past the official horse trail start area, youi first pass a nice cliff section, great for rock climbing, then it is a LONG uphill, culminating in what I jokingly call the "Killer Klimb", a short and STEEP strectch; at the high point there is a nice view and a bench.

Tom
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 18 2013, 9:32 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I believe that they have photos of what each site looks like on the reservation pages. You just go to reserve on the DNR site and then pick tent sites and then for loops you choose backpack sites and then hit search campsites and then select a campsite from the map and it will show a thumbnail photo which you can see larger if you hit details. Hope it helps you out
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 18 2013, 3:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the info.  Good to hear that hiking on the horse trails is okay.  Some horse trails suck for hiking.

One question, is the clockwise rule only for horses and bikes?
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 18 2013, 5:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Bikes aren't allowed onh the trail, and yes, it's supposed to be clockwise-only for horses, and I go counter-clockwise for that reason, but I've seen trail blazes facing in both directions--and not one "One-Way Trail, Do Not Enter" sign--so who knows.

As my description indicated, the whole loop isn usually either going uphill or downhill, and is never level for very long, usually along ridgetops.  Very scenic in areas, the equal to or better than the other park trails (aside from the Lost Canyon Trail).  And whereas the Cox Valley Lake dam area is full of people, the Twin Valley Lake Dam is empty and feels remote. :)
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 22 2013, 5:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm  not sure they still have the riding stable across the road. Last time I was down, the museum was closed and the place was for sale. I couldn't tell you when, at least a couple years ago now.

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If I wanted to live in a dictatorship I would have picked a place with shorter winters.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 22 2013, 5:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

And you must go see their little waterfall. It's one of the few that actually improves in appearance with lower water levels.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 22 2013, 5:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've checked the reservations online and there seems to be a lot of nights available for the backpacking sites -- I thought they'd be reserved way ahead and probably not have any available for the month of August.  I'm trying to commit to a night or two and then will make a reservation or just play it by ear.
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