Visit Governor Nelson State Park


Open year-round from 6 a.m. – 11 p.m., Governor Nelson State Park is nestled on the southeastern side of the city and is a favorite destination for locals and visitors. Located along Lake Mendota, you’ll find incredible wildlife while enjoying a view of the State Capitol. Discover effigy mounds on Woodland Trail, or pack a picnic for a unique dining experience.

Bird watching is a favorite activity, and when snow’s on the ground you can explore the cross country ski trails, snowshoeing and even ice fishing. Four boat landings are available, and much of the park is ADA accessible.

Outdoor Recreation

A popular fishing spot, you’ll find blue gill, catfish, lake trout, panfish, walleye and more. Book a fishing tour and try your hand at catching coho salmon, musky and rainbow trout. With numerous beaches and forests, as well as all the necessary amenities for your comfort, Governor Nelson State Park is a unique way to discover the wild within the city.

Joggers, hikers and cyclists flock to the park for the fresh air, safe and maintained trails, and the chance to get away from the bustle of downtown. Check the weather, as Madison can be unpredictable in March, and plan your outdoor adventure!