Visiting Sandhill Station State Campground

A secret hideaway

Oct. 12, 2015
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oak trees

Sandhill Station State Campground is a cozy, downright romantic little venue for camping open year-round. There are a scant 15 sites, spread out in an oval-shaped "U." Each is nestled in privately, surrounded by an arbor of oak trees and tall grasses. Even the paths to each site are well lined by greenery and wildflowers. Go on a weeknight, and chances are very good you will be the only souls there – besides the mystical calls of the cranes of course. AJ Page and I saw and heard several of these prehistoric-looking beauties while there, and it simply added to the magic of the quiet spot. You may in fact jump from the faint snaps and soft thumping sounds that surround you throughout the night. As it turns out, it is only the sound of the ripe green hickory nuts tumbling to the earth. These reminded me pleasantly of growing up in a rural development named "Hickory Highlands,” in the Waunakee area.

Take a midnight stroll down to the small, no motorboats allowed Mud Lake on the grounds. There is also a prairie trail through farm country, best enjoyed by daylight. If you visit in October, you will be treated to several cuddly wooly bear caterpillars inching across the way, so tread lightly! Butterflies obviously love this spot, as well. It is around the corner from Aztalan State Park (no camping, but boat access and a fascinating history and rolling hills to walk).

If you after simplicity and solitude, and don’t need a lot of extra bells and whistles to complete your camping experience, this is the spot for you. Please note that these are walk-in, tent only sites. You will not have to walk far if you don’t want to, as the closest site to the parking lot is less than a quarter mile. Do dress accordingly and bring extra layers of bedding if you plan to go now. To find out more, click here.

Sandhill Station is in Lake Mills on the way to Madison. I hope to urge my family to visit here for our annual camp next summer.

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