Visiting Cross Plains
The Village of Cross Plains maintains 12 parks with approximately 52 acres of open space, which include amenities such as baseball, football and soccer fields; softball diamonds; basketball and tennis courts; swimming pool; world class trout stream, outdoor skating rinks; playground equipment; sand volleyball court and picnic shelters. The Village of Cross Plains also maintains over 160 acres of conservancy land which consist of miles of trails.
Hike the Ice Age Trail
Hikers and nature lovers flock to Cross Plains to walk along the glacially-carved landscapes of the Ice Age Trail. The Cross Plains area is not only privileged to host property dedicated to the Ice Age Trail, one of 11 National Parks Service Trails, but also is home to the Ice Age Trail Alliance headquarters on Main Street.
Come enjoy the nature, wildlife and beauty of the Ice Age Trail in Cross Plains. Read more here.
Ice Age Trail Alliance Website
Swamplovers Nature Preserve
In 2005, a conservation easement with Dane County and the Ice Age Trail Alliance was set up to ensure the permanent protection of the Preserve, and in the same year the Swamplovers Land Trust Foundation was established to direct restoration and management efforts at the Preserve and coordinate the various partnerships and numerous outreach events that fulfill the Swamplovers' dual missions of restoration and education. Since then, the Swamplovers group, along with their friends, families, partners, and dedicated volunteers, have logged tens of thousands of hours' worth of time on restoration, management, habitat enhancement, outreach events, and all the behind-the-scenes but necessary clerical, bookkeeping, and accounting details that are required to operate a land trust organization and nature preserve.
A considerable part of the Foundation's Mission, which is based upon the conservation ethic and land use philosophy shared by the Swamplovers group, is to provide a protected and managed area where people can come to contemplate and appreciate their place in the natural world.
Fish the Black Earth Creek
Black Earth Creek is a nationally famous trout stream that runs through the Village of Cross Plains. The village and the creek are banked by beautiful bluffs that create the Black Earth Creek valley. The head waters of this Class I trout stream are just downstream from the Village of Cross Plains. Village of Cross Plains officials and volunteers have long since been diligent stewards of the this cold water stream, making strides in mitigating any pollution through the decades. Anglers come from all over to fly-fish here. It is also the location of Cross Plains' popular Trout Day annual fishing event. Read more
Visit the Veterans Memorial
The Cross Plains Veterans Memorial is located at the South corner entrance to Post 245, American Legion Park. The memorial consists of 5 perimeter seating benches that are supported with side mounted columns. These 5 benches are arranged in the outer perimeter of a circle, that surrounds 4 central benches and 3 flag poles. The central benches are supported by a wall. The benches, columns, and walls are make of black granite. The pavement bricks are made of Rushmore granite. The perimeter benches are engraved and dedicated to the 5 military branches of the United States. The perimeter bench and support columns are engraved and dedicated to the major wars the United States has fought in. This memorial will always be a place to visit and remember our veterans and serve as a place for patriotic events for years to come. This memorial is a dignified and beautiful reflection of our gratitude to our veterans.
Rosemary Garfoot Public Library
The Rosemary Garfoot Public Library is the first public library in the state to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. This dynamic library is a community hub where people gather to enjoy quality services and programming for all ages. The library also serves as a meeting place for the Cross Plains Golden Agers, provides archival and office space for the Cross Plains Historical Society, and exhibits the work of area artists. Among the robust library collections are books, audiobooks, digital books, DVDs, music CDs, software, multimedia kits, humanities-themed backpacks, Launchpad electronic educational tablets for kids, newspapers, a diverse blend of magazine titles, and a new pilot collection of gadgets and games. The library provides access to a number of databases as well as internet computers and wireless access.
Rosemary Garfoot Public Library Website
World Class Biking
Cross Plains is the bicycling gateway to western Dane county and the driftless area, an area that was never touched by ice age glaciers. The area is popular because of the challenging terrain and beautiful countryside. Every spring and summer, thousands of riders come through Cross Plains on Bourbon Road and County Highway KP before fanning out to find their favorite routes. Many organized rides originate or pass through the village every year. County Highway KP, Bourbon Road and County Highway P are also part of the Ironman Wisconsin bicycle course. Riders from Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and beyond come to Cross Plains regularly throughout the spring and summer to train on the racing course. More than 2,500 athletes from all over the United States and several other countries participate in one of the most popular Ironman races in the world. The race occurs every year on the second Sunday in September. Cross Plains hosts an aid station during the Ironman Race, which makes two loops through the village. At the aid station, riders take on sports drinks and food as needed to complete the course. Spectators with festive garb, signs and noise-makers gather along Bourbon Road to cheer on their favorites before returning to Madison to watch the finish of the race.
Festge County Park
Festge County Park (located just West of Cross Plains on Hwy 14) is along the gateway to the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, where the hills and valleys escaped the leveling forces of the glaciers occurring more than 10,000 years ago. With bluffs soaring high above the Black Earth Creek valley floor, Festge Park is home to a rate bur oak savanna, hickory-covered hills, and remnant prairies. Step into a sanctuary full of colors, light, and shadows where creatures awake to the vibrations and whispers of the forest. Come experience a place where joy, inspiration, and discovery await you. Nearby Salmo Pond is adjacent to Black Earth Creek south of USH 14, and offers shoreline fishing, an accessible fishing pier and picnic areas. Read more about this park here.
Support the work of Friends of Festge to restore the unique Bur Oak savanna and remnant prairies at Festge County Park and to revitalize the habitat at Salmo Pond by volunteering or donating to Friends of Festge at P.O. Box 44, Cross Plains, WI 53528-0044. Friends of Festge is a nonprofit organization and all donations are tax-deductible. For more information contact Jeanette Hoard at 608-279-3755, firstname.lastname@example.org
Indian Lake County Park
At 483 acres, Indian Lake is one of Dane County's largest parks. The main entrance to Indian Lake County Park is located in the town of Berry on SH 19 about two miles west of USH 12. A winding trail leads to a historic chapel built in 1857, located on a hilltop that provides a breath taking view of the lake and surrounding valley. A trail has been developed around the entire lake, and miles of cross-country ski and nature trails in the wooded hills provide many recreational opportunities and access to a log cabin warming house. The park also has a pet exercise area located adjacent to the small boat launch of USH 19 at the entrance on the west side of the lake. Boats using gas motors are prohibited on Indian Lake - electric motors are allowed. Read more here.
Morton Forest, named after its benefactor Steve Morton, is approximately 114 acres and offers passive recreational use in a quiet and tranquil setting. The Forest is located about 2.5 miles south of the Village of Mazomanie within the Driftless Area of southwest Wisconsin, known for its steep hills and lush valleys. The park offers year-round hiking trails and two outstanding vistas looking over the countryside. A portable toilet located at the parking lot.
Morton Forest featured on PBS Outdoor Wisconsin - Learn more about the story of Morton Forest and see some of it's amazing scenery
Check it out! Morton Forest, one of the newest additions to the Dane County Parks system, was highlighted on PBS Outdoor Wisconsin.
Click here for more information about the Dane County Park
Check out this interactive map from Natural Heritage Land Trust for some other amazing outdoor natural spots to visit in the Cross Plains Area.