Capital Springs Recreational Area, over 2,500 acres, is a spectacular place for outdoor recreation, including
- Biking, see Capital City Trail
- Paddling, boating & fishing (Lake Waubesa and Nine Springs Creek)
- Environmental education
- Bird and wildlife watching
- Picnicking with shelters
- Cross-country skiing
- For detailed recreation ideas and additional maps, visit the Dane County Parks and Department of Natural Resources sites.
Capital Springs Supervisors
Capital Springs Park Ranger: Adam Lipscomb
DNR Liaisons: Sarah Bolser
Dane County Volunteer Coordinator: Rhea Stangel-Maier
Dane County Liasion: Linda Mittnacht
From Madison or Interstate I-90, take the West Beltline (US Highway 12/18) to the South Towne Drive Exit (exit 264) and go south. Continue for almost one mile and then turn left on Moorland Road, which turns into Lake Farm Road after the road curves. The park is located about 1/4 mile past the curve at 3101 Lake Farm Road. You’ll see the Lussier Family Heritage Center and campground on your left. Stop by to pick up maps of the Park and see our interpretive information at the Lussier Family Heritage Center.
Units & Features
Visitors enjoy a rich system of trails, marshes, prairies, woods, springs, creeks and lakes which provide a healthy place for outdoor learning, solitude and reflection.
It is also a spectacular place for outdoor recreational activities such as biking, hiking, bird watching, and skiing. A large portion of the Capital City State Trail, one of the finest, most highly-ranked trails in Wisconsin, meanders through a variety of habitats within Capital Springs Recreation Area. The Trail connects to other area bike trails and into downtown Madison.
Capital Springs Recreation Area consists of eight units:
2) Jenni and Kyle Preserve,
4) Monona Wetland Conservancy,
5) Nevin Springs,
6) Upper Mud Lake,
7) Capital Springs State Park, and
Additionally, the Lussier Family Heritage Center (3101 Lake Farm Road, Madison) lies within the Capital Springs Recreation Area, a Dane County facility available for rent with spectacular views of prairie, woods, and the Wisconsin State Capitol in the distance.
History of Capital Springs Recreation Area
The vision for Capital Springs started in January 2000, with a successful proposal to establish a centennial park that would serve as the “crown jewel” of the Nine Springs E-Way project.
The landscape of the Capital Springs Recreation Area was first developed in 1969 under a project created by University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Landscape Architecture and directed by Professor Philip Lewis, Jr. This project, called the Nine Springs E-Way, worked to develop the land delineated along a system of water, wetlands and steep topography that created a natural buffer between the natural and urban areas in the Nine Springs region. It was to develop a model where natural and urban areas in Madison and Dane County were linked for the purposes of environmental education. The model was called the E-Way, “E” standing for educational, ecological, exercise, esthetic and environmental.
The E-Way existed relatively unchanged until the year 2000. As the centennial year approached, the State and County hoped to expand and update the E-Way plan by creating a new centennial park. The planning process began in 2002 for this new property, the Capital Springs Recreation Area, and has included several different phases involving State, County and local governments.
To view the master plan for Capital Springs Recreation Area and associated maps, please visit the Department of Natural Resources master plan page.