Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Devil’s Lake WI.

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Devil’s Lake WI visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - Wisconsin - Southern Savanna Region -

Devil’s Lake, located in Sauk County, Wisconsin, is the central attraction of the self named Devil’s Lake State Park. At over 10,000 acres, this park boasts that more people visit here than any other state park in Wisconsin.

Devil’s Lake is spring-fed and was formed thousands of years ago by a natural moraine dam (rock debris) deposited by retreating glaciers. Devil’s Lake is now part of the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve. However, Native American legend tells a different story. According to legend, the Ho-Chunk tribe prayed for new hunting grounds, and a giant green waterspirit was sent to the snow-covered land. The heat from his body melted the snow and ice while he chewed away the ground to allow the water to flow. This noise drew the Ho-Chunk to the location where they were blessed with a deep and beautiful lake with grassland surrounding it. The Ho-Chunk lived near the lake for several years, but eventually abandoned the site as they heard unusual shrieks and cries during tribal celebrations that they thought was the waterspirit. They named the water “Holy Lake” but through a translation error years ago, it is known today as Devil’s Lake.

Four seasons of fun, excitement, and scenic beauty lure thousands of visitors each year to Devil’s Lake State Park. Two large sandy beaches, one on the north shore and one on the south shore, provide easy access to Devil’s Lake for swimming during the warmer months. To encourage the peacefulness of the area, no gasoline motors are allowed, making the clear water a prime destination for canoeing and kayaking. Hunting is allowed at selected areas of the park. Over 29 miles of trails with varying degrees of difficulty are marked for hiking that also provide access for watching birds and other wildlife and enjoying the colorful fall foliage. During the snowy winter months, these same trails are used for cross country skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing while the frozen lake is used for ice skating. No matter which season it is, anglers are drawn to Devil’s Lake for its wide variety of fish that include rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, carp, northern pike, blacknose dace, spottail shiner, spotfin shiner, white sucker, yellow bullhead, brown bullhead, channel catfish, Burbot, white bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, sunfish, pumpkinseed, bluegill, rock bass, white crappie, black crappie, walleye, yellow perch, Iowa Darter, and Johnny Darter. (Consult fish consumption advisory under Internet Resources.)

Wisconsin is derived from the Native American word for “dark rushing waters” and Dells means “layers of flat rock” that describe the sandstone bluff formations that tower over the water along the river; hence the town name of Wisconsin Dells which is a short drive from Devil’s Lake. The natural beauty of the Dells and great outdoor activities that the rushing river provide, surrounded by fresh pine-scented air, was the main reason visitors returned year after year to the area. In the 1990’s creative-minded resort owners opened an indoor water park to appeal to people who were tired of winter and had cabin fever. Today, the area is known as “The Waterpark Capital of the World” boasting America’s largest outdoor waterpark and America’s largest indoor waterpark, as over 20 resorts in the area now include a waterpark facility with different themes. Wisconsin Dells with all the fun of the waterparks proclaims that it also has a “grown up side” offering casinos, nightclubs, theater shows, spas, wineries, and world class golf courses.

Vacation rentals are as varied as the entertainment with home vacation rentals, condominiums, cottages, bed and breakfast inns, resorts, suite hotels, golf villas, RV parks, and campgrounds. The booming tourist industry makes real estate investment in the area a profitable venture for vacation homes, retirement destinations or permanent relocation.

The quiet peacefulness of Devil’s Lake and the world class entertainment of Wisconsin Dells exemplify a prime vacation destination for families, romantic getaway for couples, or simply a weekend retreat. It does not matter which season you choose, all of the fun will be there waiting for you. Make your plans to visit today.

Custom Devil’s Lake WI house decor

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Things to do at Devil’s Lake WI

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Casino Gambling

Fish species found at Devil’s Lake WI

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Brook Trout
  • Brown Bullhead
  • Brown Trout
  • Burbot
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Darter
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sucker
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • White Bass
  • White Crappie
  • Yellow Bullhead
  • Yellow Perch

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Devil’s Lake WI

The Devil’s Lake WI map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

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Devil’s Lake WI photo gallery

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Devil’s Lake WI statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 363 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 965 feet

Average Depth: 31 feet

Maximum Depth: 50 feet

Water Volume: 11,210 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 8.1 years

Drainage Area: 3 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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