Experience the wonder of nature as you hike or ski the miles of trails at Holy Wisdom Monastery.
As you descend this trail, a glacial kettle lake hidden beyond the hillside appears. It attracts abundant wildlife and offers you a place for solitude and reflection. At the lakeshore, a tall-grass blend of wet prairie and sedge meadow species extends upland. This trail passes in front of the monastery which is edged with prairie on one side and an oak-hickory woods on the other. Near the main entry drive, this trail meets up with the Mendota Prairie Trail.
This trail follows along the upper ridge until you reach a woodland trail loop through mature oak trees. You can see some of the characteristic trees of oak savannas, with their outstretched branches, along the woodland edge as the trail dips down. At the half-way point, this trail branches off to the North Prairie Trail and opens to a sunny savanna scene.
This trail gradually curves down a northwest-facing secluded hillside through groves of young walnuts, oaks and evergreens planted in an abandoned agricultural field. The path reaches an expanse of prairie with a vista of scattered oak trees on the distant ridge that characterize our savanna landscape.
The trail traverses prairies planted between 1997 and 2001, with an option to return via the Oak Trail. Located midway around the North Prairie is a detention basin created in 1996 as part of a Lake Mendota Priority Watershed Project. It buffers the impact of surface water runoff that flows east into Lake Mendota. As you walk the return portion of the prairie loop, the oak woodland comes into full view. It is especially colorful in fall, but enjoyable in any season.
This trail offers a panoramic view of Lake Mendota and the Madison skyline. Winding down a south-facing sunny slope, the trail descends 70 feet through a restoration that exemplifies the diversity of our local prairie flora. The lower plateau was seeded with the help of volunteers and staff in the fall of 2003, continuing with the mid-slope in 2004 and the hilltop portion in 2005-2006. Near the main entry drive, the trail meets up with the Lost Lake Trail.
Download a map and guide to the 4 miles of nature trails at Holy Wisdom Monastery.
For more information, contact Mike at 608-836-1631, x124.