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Hidden Gems

Sunset over Lake Mendota

Fun finds around the Yahara Watershed

Although the most beloved beaches and piers are popular for good reason, there are also some hidden gems around the watershed that may just become your new favorite as we practice social distancing!

McKenna Park, Lake Mendota

Sunsets on Lake Mendota are unbeatable, but the public piers near the Memorial Union can get crowded during the summer. If you want to get away from the masses and enjoy an unobstructed view of the sunset, check out McKenna Park. Nestled in between homes in the Village of Shorewood Hills, the deck of the boathouse is perfect for packing a picnic and meeting friends. This hidden spot is great for sunset watchers, anglers, and paddlers.

McKenna Park on Lake Mendota
McKenna Park on Lake Mendota

Waunakee Village Park, Six Mile Creek

Well known to local residents, Waunakee Village Park is picture perfect. Six Mile Creek flows through the middle of the park, making it a perfect spot to enjoy the day. There is always something happening, from softball games, to music, or kids catching crawfish in the creek.

Waunakee Village Park, Six Mile Creek
Waunakee Village Park, Six Mile Creek

Olbrich Park Beach, Lake Monona

Olbrich Beach is a great spot to spend a sunny day. With a lifeguard on duty, you can take a swim or rent a kayak or canoe. Take a break from the beach and head across the street to explore Olbrich Botanical Gardens, or bring your bike and cruise around Lake Monona on the roughly 13-mile marked Lake Loop. You can end your day by grabbing cheese curds or a beer at The Biergarten at Olbrich Park.

Olbrich Park on Lake Monona
Olbrich Park on Lake Monona

Giddings Park, Lake Monona

Hidden between Castle Place, North Brearly Street, and East Gorham Street, Giddings Park is the perfect example of nature in a city. Located just a few blocks from East Washington Avenue, it’s a peaceful getaway. The park is the perfect place to go fishing or bring a book and escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown.

Giddings Park on Lake Monona
Giddings Park on Lake Monona

Yahara Heights County Park, Yahara River

Yahara Heights County Park is perfect for the whole family, including the dog! It has a designated dog park with two piers for your furry friends that love the water as much as you do. With fishing docks and a canoe landing, you can spend the whole day enjoying this hidden gem. The park is adjacent to Cherokee Marsh, for never-ending trails to explore.

Yahara Heights County Park, Yahara River
Yahara Heights County Park, Yahara River

Learn more

See more beaches and parks around our Yahara lakes, and find out the latest water quality in those locations at LakeForecast.org!

Learn more about each of our Yahara lakes:

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