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[ Get Outside! 5 Places to Explore In & Around Madison ]

Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton

Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton

How many of these places have you visited in the Madison area?

UW Arboretum: Did you know the Arboretum has its roots in the Great Depression? Much of the land was purchased or donated during that time, and there was plenty of labor available to work it!  The Arboretum now has more than 1200 acres, bigger than New York’s Central Park.

Owen Conservation Park: Located on the west side of Madison on Old Sauik Road, this park is a great place for a short hike. You can see the state capitol as you look beyond the trails and fields filled with wildflowers. You may even see a wild turkey or two.

Lakeshore Nature Preserve: Folks with the UW say this undeveloped area along Lake Mendota is as important to the university as the classrooms! The preserve is located between the the Union Terrace and Eagle Heights Woods—12 miles in all. It’s also great place for a bike ride!

Pheasant Branch Conservancy: What a treasure so close to Madison!  There are a few places to enter the trail, including Century Avenue in Middleton. A great place to go for a run or bike ride with a paved trail and wooden bridges that cross Pheasant Branch Creek.

Pleasant Valley Conservancy: This area south of Mount Horeb features 143 acres, where you can see most native Wisconsin ecosystems, including oak woodland, oak savanna, dry and wet prairie, sedge meadow, open marsh and bubbling springs. Butterflies love it here, and the Southern Wisconsin Butterfly Association makes an annual pilgrimage here in June.

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