The Waubesa Wetlands are a 150-hectare State Natural Area located on the southwestern toe of Lake Waubesa in Dane County, Wisconsin. These wetlands, often classified as a “Living Museum", are the most studied wetlands in the state. The foundational novelty of the wetlands emanates from their unique hydrogeology. Positioned within an artesian basin, springs from two separate underlying aquifers provide cool, clean water to create one of the most diverse wetland communities in southern Wisconsin. Because of their unique ecological and cultural significance, the Waubesa Wetlands are one of 100 wetlands acknowledged by the Wisconsin Wetlands Association. The Society of Wetland Scientists also includes the Wetlands on their Wetlands of Distinction list.

Drone footage by Beverly Nevalga. Video edited by Beverly Nevalga and Stephanie Herbst

How to Access Waubesa Wetlands

Click on the number to learn more about that access point.

How to Access Waubesa Wetlands
Goodland County Park Natural Heritage Park Christy's Landing Town of Dunn McConnell Landing Goodland County Park Natural Heritage Park Lake Farm County Park McDaniel Park Babcock County Park Boat Launch TNC Access WI Dept. of Natural Resources Access Research and Education Access Wildlife Area - Dane County Access

Goodland County Park

Goodland County Park has restrooms, 2 boat-launch lanes, 87 parking places for cars and 18 places for cars with boat/canoe trailers. Enjoy picnic areas and pavilions, grills, and recreation fields. There is a no-wake zone along the interface of surface water and vegetation of Waubesa Wetlands. Paddlers can enter the three major creeks, Murphy’s, Deep Spring, and Swan.

Natural Heritage Park

Natural Heritage Park covers 30 acres, with parking for 10 cars along Tower Road, accessible from County Highway B. It is the Town of Dunn’s most visited park with trails through recently restored prairie vegetation and along the lakeshore. Paddlers can launch kayaks and canoes.

Christy's Landing

Christy’s Landing restaurant is where paddlers, boaters, walkers, and auto travelers can enjoy burgers and fish sandwiches, a beer, and sand-lot volley ball.

Town of Dunn McConnell Landing

Town of Dunn McConnell’s Landing has parking for 10 to 15 cars along the street. This small landing is best used for launching canoes and kayaks.

Goodland County Park

Goodland County Park has restrooms, 2 boat-launch lanes, 87 parking places for cars and 18 places for cars with boat/canoe trailers. Enjoy picnic areas and pavilions, grills, and recreation fields. There is a no-wake zone along the interface of surface water and vegetation of Waubesa Wetlands. Paddlers can enter the three major creeks, Murphy’s, Deep Spring, and Swan.

Natural Heritage Park

Natural Heritage Park covers 30 acres, with parking for 10 cars along Tower Road, accessible from County Highway B. It is the Town of Dunn’s most visited park with trails through recently restored prairie vegetation and along the lakeshore. Paddlers can launch kayaks and canoes.

Lake Farm County Park

Lake Farm County Park Landing is a 328-acre park with individual and group camping, 3 shelters, a multi-lane boat launch, a fish-cleaning facility, wildlife pond, observation tower, hiking and cross-country ski trails, the Capital City State Trail, and the Lower Yahara River Trail. Within the park, the Lussier Family Heritage Center supports conferences for up to 180 people.

McDaniel Park

McDaniel Park has restrooms, a shelter, and picnic areas and it supports launching of canoes and kayaks. Users can reserve places on the kayak and canoe rack. Nearby is the Green Lantern supper club.

Babcock County Park Boat Launch

Babcock County Park Boat Launch has a 4-lane boat launch that is easily accessed from Freeway 90; it has a fishing pier and a fish-cleaning facility. Its 25-unit campground has electricity at all sites, a bathroom and shower, and a sanitary dump station.

TNC Access

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Access has parking for 4 vehicles, with additional space along Lalor Road. The greeting sign shows a route map and aerial photo of Waubesa Wetlands. At trail’s end, one can see the Deep Spring and the Great Fen and Woodland Trail. It is the trail most used by walkers.

WI Dept. of Natural Resources Access

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Access has parking  along the road for about 15 vehicles. The marked trail is used principally by hunters and also hikers.

Research and Education Access

Research and Educational Access at the Bend in Lalor Road serves University of Wisconsin faculty and students, nature guides (e.g., from the Aldo Leopold Nature Center), citizens of the region, and visitors from across the U.S. and around the world. A one-lane drive has space for several cars alongside.

Wildlife Area - Dane County Access

Waubesa Wetlands Wildlife Area—Dane County Access is a 38-acre entrance to land held by the Department of Natural Resources.

For a downloadable pdf copy of the Access Map, click here.

The Waubesa Wetlands are jointly owned by The Nature Conservancy and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

More access information can be found here:

Photo by: Nemesis Ortiz-Declet

As urban and agricultural land use in the watershed changes, it is important to determine how future scenarios could affect the ecological integrity of the Waubesa Wetlands. Thus, there is a need to understand the baseline conditions of the wetlands—both in terms of the ecosystem services provided and the water quality of inputs—prior to future land use change in the area.

Drone footage by Beverly Nevalga. Video edited by Beverly Nevalga and Stephanie Herbst