Lake Ripley, Wisconsin, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Ripley — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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Looking for Lake Ripley cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Lake Ripley

Lake Ripley is beautiful 423-acre lake located just outside the historic town of Cambridge, in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. A public beach and park within walking distance of downtown make this once glacier covered area a great place for a summer picnic or a weekend of fun and relaxation. With a maximum depth of 44 feet, the lake is also a favorite with anglers and offers exceptional year-round fishing.

Most of Lake Ripley’s nearly five miles of shoreline has been developed with private homes, resorts, and other types of vacation rentals. Ripley Park, located on the western shore of the lake, is an 18 acre park privately owned by the Cambridge Foundation and managed by the Cambridge Community Activities Program. The park is a wonderful place for the entire family to enjoy the beach, play some tennis, basketball or volleyball, or take a boat out onto the crystal, clear water. A swimming area, picnic areas, picnic shelter for large groups, bathhouse with showers and a concession stand are available for guests of the park. Anglers will find a number of game fish in the spring-fed lake to include largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, bluegill, walleye and white bass.

There are no campgrounds on Lake Ripley, but camping opportunities can be found in the nearby towns of Shell Lake and Sarona. Vacation rentals in the form of lodges, resorts, bed and breakfasts, and summer residences can be found around the lake and in the town of Cambridge. Real estate is also available for purchase for visitors who would like a permanent summer or year-round retreat.

Just west of Lake Ripley, the village of Cambridge features century-old buildings which hold a wide variety of shops and boutiques offering antiques, salt-glazed pottery, and unique art created by local artisans. A village square is the site of farmer’s markets and numerous arts and crafts festivals. Fine dining and lodging is also available in town.

Outdoor enthusiasts visiting Lake Ripley will find a number of parks, creeks, and recreational trails in the area. Running through the center of Cambridge, Koskonong Creek is very popular with canoeists. In the winter, the creek is a favorite of cross country skiers. The Cambridge Foundation, in partnership with Dane County Parks, purchased nearly 500 acres of land along the Koshkonong Creek to connect the villages of Cambridge and Rockdale. A bridge connects trails for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing between the two villages.

For those who enjoy off-road bicycling, the Glacial Drumlin Bike Trail begins near the town of Cottage Grove, northwest of Lake Ripley, and takes bikers east for 52 miles where it ends at the Fox River Sanctuary in the town of Waukesha. The trail follows the path of the old Chicago and Northwestern Railway that operated in the 1880s.

For nature lovers, the Red Cedar Lake State Natural Area is just south of Lake Ripley. Red Cedar Lake is a shallow, 370-acre lake surrounded by wetlands. The lake is home to countless waterfowl to include herons, cranes and bitterns. The lake has a maximum depth of six feet, but 90 percent of the lake is less than three feet deep and is best explored by kayak or canoe.

The northern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest is an easy drive southeast of Lake Ripley and offers 30,000 acres for camping, hiking, fishing, and hunting. The forest is internationally known for its unique glacial features. Approximately 31 miles of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail makes its way through the length of the dense forest.

Just 20 minutes east of Madison and one hour from the cities of Milwaukee and Rockford, Lake Ripley is great place for a summer picnic or an exciting day of cross country skinning. Amazing fishing, abundant opportunities for hiking and biking, and the surrounding rolling, southern, Wisconsin farmland combine to make Lake Ripley a fantastic place to visit or call home.

Things to Do at Lake Ripley

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Hunting
  • State Forest
  • Antiquing

Fish Species Found at Lake Ripley

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • White Bass

Find Places to Stay at Lake Ripley

If you’re considering a Lake Ripley lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Ripley Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Ripley lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Lake Ripley Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 423 acres

Shoreline Length: 5 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 833 feet

Average Depth: 18 feet

Maximum Depth: 44 feet

Water Volume: 7,561 acre-feet

Trophic State: Meso-eutrophic

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