Governor Nelson State Park

by Jonathon Ringdahl *
LocationLocated on 10,000-acre Lake Mendota, recreation and nature mingle within sight of the State Capitol. Governor Nelson is a day use park offering a sand beach, boat launch, fish cleaning facility, picnic areas and playground equipment, prairie restorations, and over 8 miles of trails. Native American effigy mounds can be seen on the Woodland Trail.Governor Nelson State Park is another great park close to Madison. Governor Nelson lets visitors play along or in Lake Mendota and stretch their legs with some nice trails offering good views of the surrounding landscape. Governor Nelson is unique in having a 358-foot panther effigy mound and several conical mounds along the Woodland trail.
The Woodland trail was trail of choice on my visit. I could not pass up the chance to see such a large mound. The hike along the trail offered a gradual climbp1 up with trees near the top just beginning to change colors signaling fall’s imminent onset. It was a beautiful hike.
Upon returning to the lakeshore, views of downtown Madison and the capital building greeted hikers. No other state park in the country offers views of a larger capitol building dome than Governor Nelson. The only capitol with a larger dome is the national capitol building. That is just another of many reasons to visit Governor Nelson state park. 
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***** Jonathon Ringdahl visited all of Wisconsin’s 64 State Parks, State Forests, and recreational areas in 2012. This is another in a series of articles he is writing for the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. Opinions expressed in this blog are the author’s.