Owen Conservation Park


Head to the hills! Owen Conservation Park overlooks the west side of Madison, and it’s the perfect place for a hike, picnic, or simply taking in the beauty of the region. Originally a personal retreat of University of Wisconsin professor Edward T. Owen, as well as a farm, this now-prairie is full of oak trees and provides a welcome reprieve from city life. Here, you’ll find coneflowers, bluestems and goldenrods blossoming in the spring.

A unique mix of colors and textures fills the landscape. Owen Conservation offers 3.4 miles of trails, perfect for a leisurely stroll and suitable for all ages and abilities. Three wildlife ponds were completed in 2008, close to Jetty Drive. The ponds were in response to an eroded channel that directed sediment to nearby Lake Mendota.

Madison at Work

Local land management does an excellent job of ensuring all conservations, parks and ponds serve the community. Today, the manmade ponds trap almost 70 percent of the sediment while also serving as wildlife habitat. Prairie plants, shrubs and trees flank the ponds which are brimming with aquatic plants.

The lush habitat attracts local wildlife such as wood ducks, herons and shorebirds. Owen Conservation is a favorite spot for birding, day naps in the spring, photography, painting and more. Travelers love the area for the feeling of sanctuary and peace amidst the metro nearby.