Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Land & Water Resources Department

Dane County Parks Offer a Variety of Winter Activities

December 02, 2008
Darren Marsh Dane County Parks 246-3896 Kevin Connors, Director Dane County Land & Water Resources Dept. 224-3730
Land & Water Resources

Winter outdoor enthusiasts are excited and motivated as they gear-up for the season activities” says Darren Marsh, Parks Director for Dane County Parks.  Marsh reports that last winter’s record snowfall provided outstanding opportunities for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and sledding in our area and the colder temperatures allowed for extended skating and ice fishing.  Marsh states that having an early snow cover in December, prior to the winter holidays, generally corresponds to a good winter recreation season.

Winter Recreation opportunities can be found throughout the County.  For the latest information on winter activities and trail conditions, patrons can access the Dane County Park Website at, call the 24/7 Information Line 608-242-4576 or speak with Parks staff at 608-224-3730. 

“Given these tight times and families sticking closer to home, it’s important Dane County offer good recreational opportunities for our citizens to enjoy,” County Executive Kathleen Falk said.

Dane County provides approximately 350 miles of state-funded snowmobile trails and many more miles of additional club trails.  Trails are maintained from December 1 through March 31.  The County opens trails when there is at least six-inches of snow and below freezing temperatures (conditions used to determine trail opening and closing).  All trails users are required to have their snowmobile registered through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to use the trail system.

The County has approximately 28 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails.  Trail users require a Dane County Parks / City of Madison Parks Ski Trail Permit ski on all designated County or City ski trails.  Permits are now available for purchase online at  No permit is required to use other park trails or properties. 

Snowshoeing and hiking is allowed on all trails and county properties not designated as winter ski trails. The County has one designated sledding hill located at Indian Lake County Park.  Additional sledding opportunities may be provided through the local communities, including the City of Madison Parks. 

When feasible, County Lake Access Sites are maintained for year-round use, as are access sites in the Cities of Madison and Monona.  A Lake Access Permit is required to use the designated access sites.  To purchase a permit, visit the Dane County Online Permit System at