January 06, 2017
I miss warm-weather hikes. As winter settles in, I'm dreaming about the trails that call me during the spring, summer, and fall.
One of our favorite family hiking destinations over the years has been Durward's Glen, 30 miles north of Madison in the Baraboo Hills. The 40-acre property is on the National Register of Historic Places and is open to the public daily, from dawn until dusk. It's had a rich tradition of contemplative, physical, and spiritual renewal since the mid-19th Century. (Visit this link for more on the history of Durward's Glen.)
Photos in this post were from a late summer hike a couple of years ago.
The Glen, itself, is punctuated by a gentle stream, a peaceful woodland, and fascinating rock ridges.
During the growing season, wildflowers, like this Cutleaf Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata), greet visitors along the paths.
The main loop is a relatively easy hike for families. A simple bridge crosses the stream, and then the trail becomes a little narrower and can be a little muddy after a heavy rain.
Visitors feel a sense of history and serenity, seeing the carefully placed figures and the explanations of their significance.
The geology of the place is stunning. Deep gorges were formed in the sandstone and conglomerate rock over time, exposing the quartzite bluffs.
How do trees survive like this, growing out of rock and with their roots partially exposed?
One of the tallest trees on the property is a nearly 400-year-old White Oak (Quercus alba), registered in Wisconsin as one of the state's oldest of that species.
If you like blackberries, they're plentiful along the walking path.
Well-maintained gardens line the stairs leading to the Holy Family shrine.
The shrine was sculpted in Italy from white carrara marble.
Blooms vary by season. In early August during this visit, Rudbeckias (R. maxima or submentosa) and Michigan Lilies (Lilium michiganense) were the stars.
Also, sweet-smelling garden Phlox (P. paniculata).
One of the prettiest little gardens is a prayer circle with a statue of St. Anthony of Padua at the center.
Butterflies, like this Great Spangled Fritillary, warm their wings nearby.
Durward's Glen is a peaceful place, whether you visit for a short hike, a day of reflection, or an organized retreat.
Visit this link for more about the history of Durward's Glen.
Visit this link for a quick video of the facility and the grounds.