Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Parks

Lower Yahara River Trail - Trail Development Phase 2

Properties: Door Creek Wildlife Area, Fish Camp County Park, Lower Yahara River Trail
Project Status: Active or in Progress
Schedule: Planning anticipated to be completed by fall 2022, construction in 2023.

Phase 1 - Complete
Dane County Parks opened Phase 1 of the Lower Yahara River Trail on August 27, 2017. This nearly 2.5-mile trail provides an off-road trail connection between the City of Madison and the Village of McFarland that didn’t previously exist. It extends from the Capital City Trail near the Lussier Family Heritage Center to the western shore of Lake Waubesa and includes the longest boardwalk bridge constructed solely for non-motorized transportation in North America! The mile-long bridge spans Lake Waubesa, connecting the Capital City Trail with McDaniel Park in the Village of McFarland. The bridge runs alongside an active railroad corridor and includes an accessible fishing pier, rest stops, and observation areas with picturesque views. Trees cleared from the construction area were reused for park shelter building materials and shoreline fish habitat on Lake Waubesa. Dane County Parks started planning this project in 2008 in coordination with many stakeholders, including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin and Southern Railroad Company, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the Village of McFarland, City of Madison, City of Monona, the Wisconsin Historical Society, GRAEF Engineers, KJohnson Engineers, the UW Milwaukee Cultural Resource Management Department, Ho-Chunk Nation and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Phase 2 - In Progress
Dane County Parks is working on finalizing planning, design and engineering work for Phase 2 of the Lower Yahara River Trail with assistance from KL Engineering. This segment of trail will begin at a new parking lot/trailhead at the historic fish net houses located in Fish Camp County Park and extend south along the eastern shores of Lake Kegonsa through Lake Kegonsa State Park to Williams Drive. Future phases will connect this segment of trail to the City of Stoughton and Village of McFarland.

Plans & Documents

October 2020 Virtual Public Information Meeting

Public information meeting for Phase 2 of the project was held on Wednesday, January 15, 2020:

Additional information

Lower Yahara River Trail Construction Aerial Overview Videos


Chris James, Senior Landscape Architect
Dane County Parks Division
5201 Fen Oak Drive
Madison, WI 53718 
(608) 235-2252