Complete Guide to Hartman Creek State Park

Complete Guide to Hartman Creek State Park

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Hartman Creek State Park is a beautiful oasis in the heart of Wisconsin. If you’re looking for a great place to relax and enjoy nature, this is the perfect spot! This guide will tell you everything you need to know about Hartman Creek State Park, from the history of the park to what kinds of activities are available.

Complete Guide to Hartman Creek State Park

We’ll also provide information on camping, hiking, and fishing at Hartman Creek State Park. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure!

History of Hartman Creek State Park

Hartman Creek State Park has a rich and diverse history in the sense that it has a large connection with the overall settlement and development of Central Wisconsin. The Old Coach Road Trail has a link connecting Oshkosh and Stevens Point back in the 1800s.

A lot of the earlier travelers in time have gone down this path to get between different locations. The Allen family played an integral role in the current location we now occupy as the park. The land was owned by George Allen and his family back in 1874, and as the years passed, it was initially purchased by the state and later renamed the Hartman Creek State Park.

The park’s maintenance house we see now is what used to be the Allen family house, and their main focus was on cultivating hops, which are used to make beers. The family invested heavily in the crop until they decided to venture into dairy farming. From this new venture, Wisconsin saw a major boost in dairy production and formed their own cooperation, which led to greater things for the state.

The new farm was purchased by and later managed by John J. Windfeldt, a famous cheese, and butter maker. In addition to the creamery, nearby farms on the southern side were also purchased, but the apple orchards are still the same today.

The Allen family did a lot of extensive work on the area and included lots of development that initially made the park what it is today. They purchased additional acres to increase what they initially had, and to date, the park sits on over 1,500 acres of lush lands.

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The owners made dams that would later be populated with fishes that would be a source of recreation for those who would use the park. There were also areas planted out with lots of pine, apple orchards, wildflowers, and so much more. Then on July 22, 1966, Hartman Creek State Park was opened to the public.

Things to do in Hartman Creek State Park

Hartman Creek State Park is a fantastic place to visit, and you can be sure that there are plenty of activities for everyone.

Hartman Creek State Park Camping

What is a state park without allowing you to camp out a little with your friends and family and reminisce on the best that nature has to offer? Hartman Creek State Park features a 101-site family campground and five group camping sites. Interestingly, the campsites are located among the red pine forest and the orchard/hardwood mix of trees.

The campsites are quite spacious and fully equipped with showers and flush toilets. You can camp out whenever the sites are opened, and to make the experience more fun, some sites open all through the winter season. However, these are generally opened on a “first-come” basis.

What you need to know: from Dec. 1 through April 1 both the family and group campgrounds are closed.

Hartman Creek State Park Camping
Hartman Creek State Park Family Campsite Map

Hartman Creek Watersports

Hartman Creek State Park is a beautiful place, and you can enjoy the view from anywhere in the park. However, if you want to get up close and personal with nature, there are plenty of water activities for you to engage in.

Hartman Creek State Park Fishing

Before becoming a national attraction, Hartman Creek State Park was a fish hatchery and was designed with lakes made from dams built by the owners and developers. There were four lakes – Grebe, Hartman, Middle, and Allen.

What can you catch? As the years passed, the lakes were populated with perch, numerous types of panfishes, largemouth bass, and bluegill.

Along the east shore of Allen Lake and at Whispering Pines on Marl Lake they have designed some of the piers to facilitate fishing lovers with disabilities. I LOVE that!

Interestingly, you can access fishing gear and equipment from the park office free of charge, or you can call them to find out more about their fishing tools. Ice fishing may take place but is not fully monitored by park officials.

Just make sure you have your fishing license and you are good to go year round.

Hartman Creek State Park Swimming

Hartman Creek State Park is open to numerous recreational activities, and one of these includes a beach and swimming area. The beach is located at a relaxing spot on the park grounds surrounded by a large green space covering an average of 3 acres that can be used for picnics or other fun activities.

It is fully equipped with picnic tables, changing and toilet facilities, and drinking water. The beach is open to all ages and is generally free to access for most of the day.

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Hartman Creek State Park Kayaking

Love a boat ride and want to head out on the lake with your friends and family? Well, Hartman Creek State Park allows you the advantage of enjoying this amazing activity.

Paddlers can launch canoes or kayaks from the boat landing off Knight Lane on Manomin Lake – and enjoy the crystal clear waters of the area.

Make sure to look for the floating dock at Marl Lake, a stone staircase leads to the Whispering Pines picnic area which is the perfect spot for lunch! The picnic area has tables, grills, bathrooms, drinking water, and a vehicle access point.

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Hartman Creek State Park Kayak Rental

During the summer months, the Hartman Lake Beach Concession offers boat and bike rentals, sales of camping gear, and food and drink items.

There is also a handy place in the area to go: Adventure Outfitters. They also have you covered for snowshoe or cross-country ski rentals in the winter. Give them a call at 715-513-0525 to see what they have available.

Motor Boats at Hartman Creek

The park also adjoins Marl, Pope, Manomin, and Knight lakes, natural lakes that are at the head of Waupaca’s famed Chain O’ Lakes. These lakes allow gas motors, but watercraft is limited to “slow-no-wake” speed.

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Check out our comprehensive guide on ALL Midwest State Parks!

Hiking at Hartman Creek State Park

Hartman Creek State Park offers you the experience of enjoying nature and grasping the breathtaking beauty it has to offer. It has a variety of trails that goes over 10 miles that you wouldn’t want to miss out on…

* Deer Path Trail

This trail covers one mile and goes around Allen Lake with some amazing views to behold. You get a chance to explore and see the best of the wildlife the park has to offer as well as the springs that supply water to the lake.

* Dike Trail

The Dike Trail goes through Mid and Hartman Lakes and covers an average of one mile.

* Oak Ridge Trail System

This is considered the most diverse and extensive trail on the park ground as it covers an average of 4.87 miles. There are countless scenes and things to explore along this trail.

* Windfeldt Trail

The Windfeldt Trail stretches over 2 miles and is one of the more open trails as you get to explore the old orchard area as well as the oak forest. This trail also has a history as the name itself as a link to one of the founding men behind the existence of this amazing park.

* Pope Lake Trail

This one-mile trail is relatively flat and goes around the pine plantation found on the park grounds.

* Ice Age National Scenic Trail

This trail covers three miles and presents an Ice Age view. The park deems it the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and goes through Waupaca and Portage counties. The trail is highlighted with yellow paint and signs, but the wildlife area is generally closed to hikers during hunting seasons. In addition, it is recommended that blaze orange clothing be worn during other hunting seasons.

Hartman Creek State Park trail map
Hartman Creek State Park Trail Map

Horseback Riding at Hartman Creek State Park

The horseback riding trails may not be as old as the park is but, over the years since it was created, the fun has been non-stop. The trail covers an average of seven miles, providing you with the most intriguing nature scenes through the forest and the prairie.

This trail is a must-try once you are 16 years old and have a knack for horseback riding. You may need to access a daily or annual state trail pass before you can indulge in this activity.

hartman creek horse trail map

Mountain Biking at Hartman Creek State Park

Those who love mountain biking will find this park as relaxing and adventure fulfilling. There are roughly 12 miles of off-road trails (not paved) with a 6-mile segment being single track.

The trails vary from easy, intermediate, and hard, but they are all fun to traverse. A few years back, they renovated the trails to improve the overall setting and the experience you will get.

Hartman Creek Bike Trail Map

Hunting at Hartman Creek State Park

During Wisconsin State Parks hunting and trapping seasons, you are free to engage in the activity but only in the park’s open areas. The park does not allow trapping in closed areas or within 100 yards of use areas such as trails.

The park hunting map has all the details about the hunting and trapping guidelines. Bear in mind, certain traps are not allowed on the compound, and if you need to get more details, you can always speak to the representatives at the information desk.

State of Wisconsin Hunting Information

Hartman Creek State Park in Winter

A visit in the winter is a little different than the summer but all the more adventurous. Activities range from snowshoeing, cross country skiing, sledding, and hiking tours.

Snowshoeing at Hartman Creek

You can enjoy some great snowshoeing during the winter over a 3.5-mile stretch of off-trail hiking. This is relatively allowed only on the non-groomed ski trails. Bear in mind, however, the park does not offer to monitor ice fishing activities.

Cross-Country Skiing at Hartman Creek State Park

There is so much fun going on skiing trips, and Hartman Creek State Park has a fun package for you to choose from. The park offers 6 miles of cross-country ski trails that go over a multiple-loop trail system.

The trail will see you going through some of the best aspects of nature including scenic views of the general landscape, hardwood forest, small lakes, and pine plantations. The trail is mostly flat with occasional rolling hills along the way and can be traversed by new adventurers and experienced adventurers alike.

winter use map for Hartman Creek
Hartman Creek’s Winter Use Park Map

Hartman Creek State Park and Dogs

Let’s start with the obvious: dogs shouldn’t be left unattended and you should pick up the poop. Waste should be disposed of in dumpsters or trash receptacles.

Dogs are allowed in most campgrounds, trails, roads, and outlying areas of the parks. They must be on a leash no longer than 8 feet at all times, if they are not under control at all times, they can be seized and subject to local laws pertaining to stray animals.

ID tags are a good idea if your dog isn’t micro-chipped. If you do lose your pet you can contact the Portage County Humane Society at (715) 344-6012.

Rabies could be a thing as there are wild animals like raccoons your pooch could come in contact with so make sure your pooch has all current vaccinations.

Other animals like deer, red fox, coyote, squirrels, and beavers. Black bears, cougars, groundhogs, and wolves have all been spotted at Devil’s Lake.

Pets are not allowed in the following places:

  • Buildings
  • Picnic areas and picnic shelters
  • Beaches
  • Playgrounds
  • Marked Nature Trails
  • No Pets are allowed on the ski trails when they are snow-covered.

Of course, if your dog is a service animal, those rules do not apply.

How to get to Hartman Creek State Park

The park is located at N2480 Hartman Creek Road, an estimated 1 hour and 15 minutes away from Green Bay. If you are in and around Madison, it could take you an average of 2 hours to reach the park – about west of Waupaca on Hartman Creek Road and also south of State Highway 54 and north of State Highway 22.

Hartman Creek State Park shoreline

Hotels close to Hartman State Park

Let’s face it, not everyone is a camper. If your idea of roughing it is Holiday Inn or Howard Johnson’s? We have you covered.

There are lots of fun places you can stay with friends and family to enjoy the region’s most interesting features. So, where can you stay and have that “homely feeling”? Here are a few places you might want to consider…

* Comfort Suites at Par 4 Resort

This amazing resort is located a little over 4 miles away from the park at 199 Foxfire Dr, Waupaca, Wisconsin. They have some of the most intriguing amenities to complement your stay as you overlook the beautiful Foxfire Golf Club.

The suites are quite comfortable and relaxing and create the perfect “home away from home” experience. Their staff is friendly and is willing to work overtime to make your stay worthwhile. Their services are way above par and are quite affordable.

* Ramada by Wyndham Waupaca

The Ramada by Wyndham Waupaca hotel is located at 110 Grand Seasons Dr, Waupaca, and offers you an amazing stay whether you are on business or on your vacation to enjoy the best that Wisconsin has to offer. The hotel features guests’ rooms fully equipped with free wifi and a flatscreen TV.

Enjoy their 24-hour information desk to make your stay as comfortable as you desire as well as their free breakfast service and onsite pool. This hotel is roughly 5 miles away from Hartman Creek State Park and is close to some other amazing must-see places such as Hutchinson House, Waupaca Train Depot, and Waupaca Historical Society.


Places To Stay Nearby

Restaurants Near Hartman Creek State Park

There is nothing better than exploring a place you are staying, and one of the best ways to do this is to try their local food. After a full day of enjoying the best that Hartman Creek State Park has to offer, here are a few amazing restaurants you can stop at with your friends and family for some mouth-watering goodness (Check in with them to see their new covid-19 protocol measures)…

* Wheelhouse Restaurant

Located at E1209 County Road Q, Waupaca, you are in for a great treat and some food that will get your tastebuds kicking. They offer a wide variety of food selections that you can have outdoors, as takeaway, or via inside seating. They provide free parking, indoor television, wheelchair accessibility, table service, and a full bar with your favorite juices on the go.

It is perfect for the entire family and a cool place to have your little celebrations. If you are stuck at your hotel but need to make your order or get some more details, you can reach out to them at +1 715-258-8289.

* Clearwater Harbor Waterfront Restaurant & Bar

For sure N2757 County Road Qq is normal when it comes to some good food prepared by some of Wisconsin’s finest food enthusiasts. You are in for a treat that will leave your mouth watering for more of the diverse dishes they create in their kitchen.

The cuisine is a mix of different dishes from both local and international farms, and you will have no regrets. They can get busy at times, so you might want to make a reservation or call in at +1 715-258-9912 to see which dining option works best for you.