Picnic Point fire circles are closed until further notice. No reservations are being taken at this time, and any existing reservations have been canceled.
UW–Madison leadership has been working to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on campus and is working closely with local, state and federal agency partners. As a part of these efforts, all non-essential campus and university-related events are canceled until further notice. This includes all Lakeshore Nature Preserve events, such as field trips and walks, volunteer events, and private events.
Read the Lakeshore Nature Preserve Events Canceled and Fire Circles Closed article for more information.
An outing to Picnic Point has long been a tradition for many Madisonians. There are six reservable fire circles on Picnic Point for visitors to enjoy a warm fire or cook a picnic meal.
Before you reserve a fire circle, please review Visitor Etiquette.
- Fires are only allowed in designated fire circles.
- Wood is provided for free at racks found between fire circles. Please be conservative with wood use.
- Do not bring wood into the Preserve; it may harbor destructive insects or diseases.
- Do not collect wood from the Preserve to burn; woody debris is essential for healthy woodlands.
- Each fire circle is equipped with a cooking grate.
- Charcoal and charcoal grills are not allowed.
- Catered events are not allowed.
- Vehicles may not be used to transport people or supplies to fire circles. The main Picnic Point path is wheelchair accessible.
- Fires must be extinguished by 10PM, when the Preserve closes. Please take the time to completely put out your campfire, it could prevent a wildfire.
- Fire circles are intended for University and personal use. Businesses or non-University of Wisconsin organizations wishing to hold a public event will require further authorization. Contact the Preserve Program Manager for more information: 608-265-9275 or email@example.com
To make a fire circle reservation: visit the Campus Event Services/Wisconsin Union website.
Campus Event Services will respond to your submission within 2 business days. You will receive an e-mail confirmation of the date, time, and site number. Since reservations are not required, the site may be in use when you arrive. You may politely ask that party to leave and show them the print out of your confirmed reservation.
Campus Event Services/Wisconsin Union
Hours: 8am-5pm, Mon-Fri
Address: Union South, Room 233, 1308 W. Dayton St.
How do I choose a fire circle?
Fire circles are numbered 1 – 6 from the base of Picnic Point to the tip. The distance from the entrance to Picnic Point to fire circle #6 is approximately 0.75 miles (1.2 km); it’s about a 15 minute walk.
Fire circle #1
Fire circle #2
Fire circle #3
Fire circle #4
Fire circle #5
Fire circle #6
Swimming is only allowed at the Memorial Union swim pier.
Ice Safety Information
Is it safe to go out on the frozen lake? Visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website for ice safety tips.