Home | Getting Started | Gift Center | Gear Store | Topo Maps | My Wildernet | Newsletter Signup
Wisconsin > Wisconsin State Parks, Forests, Recreation Areas & Trails > Governor Nelson State Park
Activity Locator:

Governor Nelson State Park

Activities within Governor Nelson State Park:

All Governor Nelson State Park Outdoor Recreation Activities

Governor Nelson State Park Customized Topo Maps and Aerial Photos
Outdoor Gear and Clothing

Search by Name within Wisconsin:

Trip Planner

Hotels Airline Tickets Car Rentals
B&Bs Yellow Pages City Guide

General Information

Description - Comprised of 422 acres of land and 10,000 Lake Mendota acres, Governor Nelson State Park rests within view of Madison's skyline and the State Capitol. As one of Wisconsin's newest state parks, the popular day use facility boasts ancient Native American effigy mounds, including 358-foot -long panther, bird and conical mounds.

Attractions - Governor Nelson State Park is located on Madison's largest of five metro lakes offering a variety of day use activities including three hiking trails that explore several habitats including upland oak woodlands, oak Savanna, and restored prairie.

Water-oriented sports include unlimited horsepower boating, sailboarding, sailing, swimming, and pet swimming. The 500-foot beach is flanked by new breakwalls, which have found favor with shoreline anglers enabling them to reach deeper waters. Lake depths average 10 feet with areas dipping 20 feet. Pan fish are the most popular catch with small and largemouth bass, crappie, and perch increasing in numbers. Walleye, pike and muskie were stocked several years back and are being taken as well. A fish cleaning station can be found above the four-lane launching ramp. Check with local bait shops and park officials for best seasons and specific hotspot locations.

From Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day the park offers an unguarded 500-foot sand beach with changing house, solar-powered showers and children's playground. Just north of the beach, down a woodchip path, pets have their own beach. The park's picnic area includes playground equipment, tables, grills, and restrooms. Also offered during the warm summer months are weekly nature programs geared for children and their parents. Details are posted on the park bulletin boards and may be obtained at the park office.

Governor Nelson State Park has four wide and unsurfaced hiking trails. Several steep slopes, but primarily level ground, explore the park's old hardwood forests.

In winter, the park welcomes ice fishing and cross-country skiing. Four miles of groomed track are provided.

The park is open all year from 6 AM to 11 PM.

Recreation - Day use recreation includes pet swimming, sunbathing, swimming, power boating, sailing, sailboarding, hiking, picnicking, nature study, viewing ancient Native American mounds, fishing, and cross-country skiing.

Climate - Southeast Wisconsin has four distinct seasons with warm summers and long winters. January's average temperature is above 16 degrees F (-9 degrees C). Average July temperature is 85 degrees F (29 degrees C). During summer, temperatures can climb to above 90 degrees F (32 degrees C). The area's average yearly precipitation ranges from 32-34". Annual snowfalls in the Southeast Region can range from 20 - 50". Dressing in layers is a good way to remain comfortable in Wisconsin.

Location - Governor Nelson State Park is located in Southeast Wisconsin, Dane County on the northwest shore of Lake Mendota.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

No trip reports filed to date. Please be the first one to do so!

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Lakes & Reservoirs Lake Mendota
ICON Swimming & Waterplay 500-Foot Beach, Pet Swimming

More Information

Contact Information:
Governor Nelson State Park, 5140 Cty. Hwy. M , Waunakee, WI, 53597, Phone: 608-831-3005

Additional Information:
Southeast Wisconsin - Nestled among the dense population of Southeast Wisconsin are a dozen state parks, two fabulously wildlife-rich national refuges, vast state forestlands, and hundreds of miles of multi-use trails.
Wisconsin Lakes and Rivers - Wisconsin is a land of lakes and rivers. The state boasts over 15,000 lakes, national and state protected rivers, and famed borders with the Mississippi, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.
Wisconsin State Parks, Forests, Recreation Areas & Trails - Wisconsin showcases 86 state park system properties offering visitors an opportunity to hike, camp, swim, fish, and simply relax.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Official agency website.


About Wildernet |  Email to a Friend  |  Disclaimer |  Privacy |  Contact Us  | Comments & Suggestions
Advertisers & Sponsors |  Owners & Operators |  Tourism Promotors
©1995-2019 Interactive Outdoors Inc. All rights reserved.