Parking Changes in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve
Parking Lot 130 at the entrance to Picnic Point is now open! The redesigned lot has 96 visitor spots and 4 ADA spots (2 van accessible). Lot 129 is now officially closed and will be removed and replanted to native plants. Please note: Route 80 eastbound stop #2281 (U Bay & Picnic Point – Eastbound) has also reopened.
OPEN 4 AM – 10 PM daily
Parking lots are open from 4 AM – 10 PM. Vehicles parked beyond this time may be ticketed.
The 300-acre Lakeshore Nature Preserve stretches for 4.3 miles along the south shore of Lake Mendota on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus–from the Hasler Limnology Laboratory on the east to the Village of Shorewood Hills on the west.
For more information visit our Parking page. Please note that UW-Madison parking regulations apply in the Preserve. See UW-Madison Transportation Services Visitor Parking for more details.
Madison metro bus #80 makes regular stops through campus and at many points with easy access to the Preserve including at the top of Muir Woods, near Willow Creek, at the Picnic Point entry gate, at the northeast corner of Eagle Heights Woods, and near the Frautschi Point entrance.
The Howard Temin Lakeshore Path–from N. Park Street on the east to Oxford Road on the west–is a well used commuter route and a great way to access the Preserve. Bicycling is not allowed on any interior trails including the main Picnic Point path or paved service roads.Bicycle racks are available at all parking lots, at the Lakeshore Residence Halls, and at several locations along the east end of the Temin Lakeshore Path.
The best way to explore the Preserve is on foot. You can explore the 12 miles of walking trails before setting foot in the Preserve by using the Interactive Map. The main path out to the tip of Picnic Point is accessible. You may encounter the occasional work vehicle on service drives used by staff and others conducting research in the Preserve.
Visiting the Preserve by canoe has long been a popular adventure. The Narrows, midway on the Picnic Point peninsula, is a convenient landing and portage spot. Beaching is allowed on sandy areas on the north side of Picnic Point; tying of boats to trees is not allowed. Canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards can be rented from Memorial Union’s Outdoor UW program. A City of Madison maintained boat launch is located at Lot 60.
Picnic Point is by far the most recognizable location in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve as well as a good base from which to explore the rest of the Preserve; Park at Lot 130 (2003 University Bay Drive). Exploring the west end of the Preserve? Parking is also available at Frautschi Point (2662 Lake Mendota Drive) and Raymer’s Cove (2900 Lake Mendota Drive).