Capital City State Trail

Capital Springs  Recreation Area provides miles of hiking trails extending from the shores of Lake Waubesa, two miles west through the Nine Springs E-Way.

See page 12 of the Capital Springs Visitor’s Guide for a trail map of the entire Recreation Area.

Easy, paved, 9.5 miles through the Recreation area ⇒ CAPITAL CITY STATE TRAIL MAP

A large portion of the Capital City State Trail, about 9.5 miles, meanders through the heart of the Capital Springs State Recreation Area, providing opportunities for hiking, jogging, bicycling, rollerblading and roller skiing on a paved surface.

The Capital City State Trail serves as the hub of the Madison biking system linking Military Ridge State Trail, Badger State Trail, City of Madison and City of Fitchburg trail corridors. Motorized vehicles, horses and hunting are prohibited on the trail.

⇒ Order your trail pass from the Friends!  ⇐
A state trail pass is required for all visitors 16 years of age or older using a bicycle, roller blades or roller skis. Trail passes and parking are available at the kiosks off Verona Road, Syene Road, Knob Hill and at Lake Farm Park.

Natural Features of the CCST
The Capital City State Trail passes through the Lewis E-way unit of Capital Springs Recreation Area. Visitors enjoy blue bikes (24)shady woodlands, prairies and wetlands in the diversity of landscapes. These habitats offer excellent wildlife viewing and natural beauty along the way.

Lake Farm Park, anchored on the east end of the trail, provides restrooms, water and camping opportunities. The trail also passes through other units of Capital Springs Recreation Area, including the Jenni and Kyle Preserve and the Nevin Springs Fish Hatchery and Hunting Grounds before entering into urban green way.


Other Capital Springs Trails

Take a self-guided interpretive hike around the shores of Lake Waubesa.  Interpretive signage exposes you to the cultural and historical significance of the prehistoric Lake Farm Culture and the Lake Waubesa area as well as some of the areas natural history.  The observation tower is located near shelter #1 and is open seasonally.

WHITETAIL TRAIL:  Easy, 1.3 miles
Linking the shelters and group camp, this trail offers wonderful views of wetlands and wildlife. The trail overlaps with the Lake Farm Heritage Trail to offer views of beautiful Lake Waubesa.  The observation tower is located near shelter #1 and open seasonally.

E-WAY TRAIL:  Easy, 2.7 miles
The gateway to the Nine Springs E-Way Corridor starts here.  This tranquil wetlands trail meanders alongside the Nine Springs Creek through the heart of the E-Way before connecting to the Capital City State Trail.  It also connect with the Baxter Park Trail.

A connector trail from the Capital City State Trail to the City of Madison-Baxter Park.

LUSSIER-MORAINE TRAIL:  Moderate, 1.6 miles
Enjoy sloping trails through restored prairie and marsh.  The trail begins behind the Lussier Family Heritage Center; from here, the trail splits into two hikes: a loop trail back to the Lussier Center or an additional half-mile hike across Lake Farm Road with long vistas of Capital Springs.

  • The loop trail meanders through prairie and overlooks MMSD lagoons and large areas of marsh toward Lake Waubesa.  It also maintains an Educational Trail Guide with eight post stops covering the history and value of Capital Springs marsh and prairie – pick up a copy of the Guide in the Lussier Center.
  • For a longer route, hike across Lake Farm Road to the half-mile glacial moraine and enjoy outstanding views of marsh, the E-way, MMSD lagoons, and lakes.  This trail rests in the middle of beautifully restored upland prairie, and contains an observation deck on the western portion of the trail.

Trails winding through this reconstructed wildlife habitat are a bird watcher’s delight.  The trail also offers an elevated boardwalk and observation platform.