Complete Guide to New Glarus Woods State Park

Complete Guide to New Glarus Woods State Park

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Compared to other state parks in Wisconsin (such as Devil’s Lake State Park), New Glarus Woods State Park is relatively small, at 435 acres. However, this park contains some of the best hiking trails you can find near the city of New Glarus. This park is a wonderful place to camp as well, with over 20 wooded campsites that allow you unlimited access to the rolling hills and the phenomena of natural landscapes here. This state park is owned and maintained by Wisconsin’s DNR and it is open year-round. This article acts as a comprehensive guide on how to enjoy the state park whenever you find yourself in this location.

Complete Guide to New Glarus Woods State Park

History of New Glarus Woods State Park

New Glarus Woods became a state park in 1934. The land where the park lies today was originally 34 acres before it was steadily increased by acquiring the surrounding pieces to the current 435 acres. With the help of the Friends of New Glarus Woods State Park, the park has been developed into an amazing tourist attraction with numerous recreational opportunities, breathtaking sceneries, and wonderful flora and fauna. 

The wonderful mixture of forest and prairie makes this park a great place to visit for sightseeing. The cities of Monroe, Wisconsin, and Monticello are close by if you would like to explore more attractions around the park. New Glarus is located in a very unique spot. The northern and western borders (known as the ‘driftless area’) are characterized by cliffs, rugged mountainous sections, and deep ravines. The prairies (with rich plant and animal life) border the park on the southern and eastern sides.

New Glarus Woods State Park Activities

There are many activities one can engage in when they visit the park. You will find many hiking and paved biking trails, campgrounds, fishing spots, kayaking, and boating facilities here.

Camping in New Glarus Woods State Park 

Most of the campgrounds in this park are primitive. There are 18 RV camping sites here. These sites can handle small to medium-sized rigs and are available on a first-come-first-served basis. There are 14 tent camping sites. No reservation is required for these sites. You will find 6 group tent sites that can accommodate up to 20 people per tent. There is a family campsite with picnic tables close to the parking lot.

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If you will be camping in an RV, you should note that there are no dump stations here. Electrical hookups may be available but you might have to inquire about this in advance. Two campsites have been modified to allow access to wheelchairs and restrooms for people with disabilities are also available. 

You can buy firewood from the park’s staff and although campfires are allowed, there are regulations and guidelines to be adhered to.

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Picnic areas and playgrounds inside New Glarus State Park

There is one large picnic area close to the family campground. In this area, you will find cooking grills, picnic tables, an open-air shelter (with lights and electricity), vault toilets, drinking fountains, and a large playground.

The picnic shelter can hold up to 10 tables (accommodating a maximum of 64 people) and it is offered on a first-come-first-served basis.

Picnic areas and playgrounds inside New Glarus State Park

New Glarus Woods Biking

Bicycles are allowed on all paved sections/trails within the park and within the campgrounds. You can rent a bicycle in New Glarus Village – close to the Sugar River State Trailhead. Bicycles are not allowed on the other hiking trails. There is a 24 mile Sugar River State trail that you can connect to from any of the campgrounds.

New Glarus Woods Hiking

There are 8 miles of hiking trails within New Glarus Woods State Park. These trails take you through different natural landscapes, including dense forests and prairies. Most of the trails are leveled and moderate. However, be careful as some sections could become slippery (especially after a light shower) and other sections have exposed rock and loose gravel. Expect to come across small wildlife during your hike.

Basswood Nature trail

Length: 0.4 miles

This is a short and very moderate trail that starts and ends close to the picnic area playground. You will find markers and signs showcasing the park’s history and explaining the different kinds of plant and tree species you come across while hiking here.

Chattermark trail

Length: 0.1 mile

Perhaps the shortest trail in the park, the Chattermark trail connects the campgrounds to the Chattermark Amphitheater.

The Great Oak Trail

Length: 0.2 miles

This trail connects the Bison Nature trail to the Sugar River Spur trail. It is close to the walk-in campsites.

Bison Nature Trail

Length: 0.8 miles

Nature lovers will enjoy exploring the prairie along this trail. There are many signs and markers to guide you here. You will come across different kinds of prairie life and interpretive signs have been erected all over to offer more information about them. There is a large life-size replica of a Bison that has been photographed numerous times along this trail.

Havenridge Nature Trail

Length: 4.2 miles

This trail also takes you through a diverse natural landscape, including meadows, woodlands, and prairies. There are trail markers here as well offering information about the various natural vegetation and features you come across. 

Vista Trail

Length: 0.4 Miles

The Vista trail connects the Bison Nature Trail and the Havenridge trail. It is located on the northern end of the park. The trail takes you through a section where massive forest restoration has been carried out.

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Walnut trail

Length: 0.5 miles

This is the best trail to explore if you love bird watching. It is a moderate hiking trail that takes you through the woodland and connects you to the Havenridge trail loop on the southern side. You can expect to come across small wildlife on this trail.

Sugar River Trail Spur

Length: 1.6 miles

The Spur is a paved trail that connects to the longer Sugar River State Trail. The Sugar River State Trail is a 24-mile long trail that follows an abandoned railroad from New Glarus to Brodhead. People who decide to take on the whole trail will pass through prairies, a brewery, woodlands, farmlands, rolling hills, and vast open lands. There are 14 trestle bridges along this trail.

Map of hiking trails in New Glarus Woods State Park

New Glarus Woods State Park map

New Glarus Woods Water Sports

Although there is no lake inside New Glarus Woods State Park, trout fishing is a popular water sports activity within Green County. Fishing occurs mainly on streams scattered across the county. Some of the sportfishing areas here include;

Bushnell Creek

Location: N.E Monroe, near County Highway J, Type of fish: Brown trout

Dougherty Creek

W. Monticello, Type of fish: Brown Trout

Liberty Creek

S.E Brooklyn, north of Hwy 59, Type of fish: Brown trout

Hammerly Creek

S.E Monroe, north of Hwy 39, Type of fish: Brown, Brook trout

Ward Creek

E. New Glarus, Type of fish: Brown Trout

Sawmill Creek

W. New Glarus, south of Hwy 39

New Glarus Woods State Park Kayaking

Kayaking on the Sugar River is becoming a popular recreational activity in New Glarus. You can rent a canoe or kayak from the village and join an expedition on the Sugar River. 

Unplug from everyday stress

Golfing in the area

Golfing lovers can access golfing facilities at the nearby Edelweiss Chalet Country Club. This is an 18-hole course that allows both membership and walk-in public play options. You can rent a golf cart inside the premises. The country club also offers other services and facilities. You can contact them on their website at https://www.edelweissccc.com/

New Glarus Woods State Park Hunting

You are allowed to hunt during the hunting season in Wisconsin. Hunting and trapping are allowed in specific places and within a specific duration. For instance, you are not allowed to lay traps or hunt within 100 years of any designated use area, including campgrounds and hiking trails. 

Here is the map of hunting and trapping areas in New Glarus Woods State Park.

State of Wisconsin Hunting Information

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural resources has clear instructions and regulations governing hunting and trapping within any park in the State. Here are the hunting and trapping rules in Wisconsin State Parks.

winter in peninsula state park

New Glarus Woods State Park in Winter

In the winter, snowshoeing and snowmobiling are popular sports activities people come to enjoy here. Some of the trails may be closed during the winter season or they may not be well maintained. However, the park is open all year round and hiking is a popular activity even during the winter season.

New Glarus Woods State Pet Policy

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 6 feet at all times, if they are not under control at all times, they can be seized and subject to local laws on stray animals. 

ID tags are a good idea if your dog isn’t microchipped. If you do lose your pet you can contact either the Green County Humane Society at (608) 325-9600.

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, chipmunks, squirrels, gray wolves, skunks, fishers, elk, and porcupines can be found there. 

Pets are not allowed in the following places: 

  • Buildings 
  • Picnic areas and picnic shelters 
  • Main Beach
  • 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.


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Restaurants near New Glarus Woods

There are many restaurants near New Glarus Woods State Park. They serve all kinds of cuisines featuring both local and exotic delicacies. Some of the best restaurants you can explore while camping inside New Glarus Woods State Park include;

Sugar River Pizza Company

Website: https://www.sugarriverpizza.com/, Location: 700 Railroad St.

Puempel’s Olde Tavern

Website: https://www.puempels.com/, Location: 18 6th Ave, New Glarus, WI 53574

Puempel was established as a boarding house in 1893 to welcome Swiss immigrants into the county. It serves all kinds of drinks, cocktails, and beers you can think of. They also serve local delicacies on order.

Ott Haus Pub and Grill

Website: https://www.otthaus.com/, Location: 406 2nd St. New Glarus, WI

Fancy a good hamburger? Pop into Ott Haus Pub for a refreshing drink and delicious burgers.

Kristi’s Bistro Restaurant and Bar

Website: https://www.kristisrestaurant.com/, Location: 119 5th Ave, New Glarus, WI 53574

Directions to New Glarus Woods State Park

New Glarus State Park is open all year round. When coming from New Glarus village, turn right at the last lane on 2nd st and then turn right onto WI- 69S. Drive for 2.3 miles. The entrance to New Glarus Woods State Park will be on your left.

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