Picnic Point, Madison, Wisconsin

Hey everyone,

Hope all is well and you are enjoying the spring weather. Our Madison journey continues from where we ended last week on the UW-Madison campus and heading out to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve, more commonly known as Picnic Point. This 300 acre nature reserve is a nearly a mile long peninsula that covers about four miles of shore line along the southern shore of Lake Mendota. While the Preserve serves an educational function for the University, it is also a source of recreation for both employees and students as well as the Madison community. Many quiet, pleasant hours are passed on the many trails out to and around Picnic Point. It is also possible to reserve a fire pit for small gatherings of family and friends. All in all it’s a great place to enjoy the natural world.

A little history then some photos. Archaeological surveys uncovered evidence of ancient inhabitants on what is now the Preserve. Beginning in the mid 1800’s, Picnic Point was home to a number of farms. The land containing Picnic Point was purchased in the 1920’s by Edward Young, a prominent Madison businessman. Young renovated an old farmhouse into a large mansion, planted a large apple orchard and developed paths through the woods that are used to this day. The house burned down about 10 years later and Young moved his family back into Madison. He then sold the land to University in 1941. During the time Young owned the land, students and faculty used the land much like a park. It is said that many marriage proposals were made (and still are) on Picnic Point. Several years back, Picnic Point was declared to be one of the “kissing-est” spots in North America! Keep that in mind when you visit!

Our journey to Picnic Point actually begins on the UW campus. The Lakeshore Path begins at the Memorial Union, winds for about a mile and half along the southern shore of Lake Mendota, passes by the entrance to Picnic Point and ends a bit to the west at Big Woods along University Bay Drive. Eagle Heights, the UW’s married student housing complex is located at the end of the Path. Following are a few photos from the Lakeshore Path. The Path accommodates walkers, joggers, and bike riders. IMG_2952.CR2IMG_2949.CR2IMG_4471.JPG

While this photo is from a distance looking over Lake Mendota, Picnic Point is to the left of the photo.IMG_4469.JPG

This winter photo shows Picnic Point in the middle distance just beyond the open water.PP-1395.jpg

The entrance to Picnic Point is a beautiful stone wall constructed out of field stones. I’ve taken a few graduation and event photos using that wall.UW Arboretum-3628

This photo of the Capitol was taken a steps off the small parking lot next to the entrance. Picnic Point-1385

The walking and hiking paths are pleasant especially in the fall as the leaves begin to turn and the mosquito population is lower!Picnic Point-6478IMG_2981.JPG

During the summer a lot of boats drop anchor and enjoy the warm water and sunshine.IMG_2963.JPGIMG_3643.JPG

Along the walking paths, there are numerous places to rest, read a book or just enjoy the outdoors.Picnic Point-6474

The following photos are a few of the nature shots I’ve taken over the past couple of years. It’s not my usual photographic genre but I can’t help try to capture the natural beauty when I see it.Picnic Point-6500Picnic Point-6490

Well, I hope you enjoyed your short tour of Picnic Point. If you are ever in the Madison area it’s worth a stop, especially in the warmer seasons of the year. You’ve probably noticed that I don’t have a photo of the point on Picnic Point. I do have one someplace in my archives but can’t find it, I’ll have to work on that part of my life!

Until next week, travel safe.


2 thoughts on “Picnic Point, Madison, Wisconsin

  1. blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } Great photos and a lot of warm weather with only a hint of cold and those are warm snow. Was cool for a few days with temps not getting out of ’60’s. Now back to upper 70’s and heading to 90 soon. Will move a bit north in two weeks and remain for two to three weeks and then home.

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    1. Hey Bob,
      Good to hear from you. Weather down there sounds great. We got home from PA and WashDC yesterday. Don’t know if your cameras can see our backyard, we had the maple tree trimmed up and the evergreen near the back of our house removed. Doing some new landscaping.

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