Grab your Bike or Kayak and Discover Madison’s Outdoors
mad city

Referred to as The City of Four Lakes, Madison has quite a few things to offer both visitors and residents looking to escape the bustle of the Capital. For those into casual recreation, Madison is full of wonderful day hikes, bike trails and a wide variety of waterfront activities. After hours of kayaking, rafting and fishing, locals look to decompress by setting up camp at one of the many lakeside campgrounds that outline the area. For those looking for adventure without having to pack an overnight bag, the Capital boasts a stellar Arboretum, many local parks, botanical gardens and the Henry Vilas Zoo. Check out our top 5 Madison outdoor picks:

photo SV Heart Photography


Madison is the unofficial bike capital of the Midwest. In recognition of having more bikes than cars, Madison was given platinum status in 2015 from the League of American Bicyclists!
Ryan Huber says:

“I work almost every Saturday, but bicycling around town with friends is the best. Cafe to cafe, bar to bar, park to park or all of the above. Madison is a Platinum-level bicycle friendly city.”

Lake Monona

Bob Hemauer says:

“I walk to work a lot, and I’m lucky enough to be able to walk along the shores of Lake Monona almost every day. Madison has such an amazing parks system, along with a really forward-thinking network of bike paths. It’s really a luxury to be able to incorporate being outdoors into something as mundane as my daily commute, and it’s one of the things that makes Madison really special to me.”

UW Arboretum

Lost Lakes says:

“My favorite outdoor space in the city has got to be the arboretum, which is run by the University. I don’t know the acreage but it’s a huge swathe of land, right around one of the smaller lakes in Madison. They have a lot of hiking trails through different types of forest: there’s a section through the Northern Forest, so it’s all conifer trees. They have a manicured proper arboretum with all the trees labeled with their genus in neat, perfect rows. It’s pretty surreal and great to walk through, great for fall colors too. It’s really the jam in Madison.”

photo The Cut/Flickr

Devil’s Lake State Park

Anna Vogelzang says:

“It’s so gorgeous, and just a short jaunt out of town.”

Tenney Park

Underground Food Collective says:

“Best outdoor activity is Ice Skating at Tenney Park in the winter or skateboarding at Central Park during the rest of the year.”

Flip through the pages of our full Madison guide below, and don’t miss your chance to win a prize package from Igloo x High noon. Enter here

photo by: Ryan Michael Wisniewski; Joey Reutemann