Butler Lake features the namesake lake and spring, as well as a short segment of the Parnell Esker. It is one of 11 SNA’s found within the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Access is easy via a large parking area at a bend in Butler Lake Road. There is a boat landing right there from which you could launch a kayak/canoe to best see the wetlands. Alternate access may be possible along a horse trail that intersects with Butler Lake Road and CTH F, but I haven’t explored these routes yet. The Ice Age Trail passes along the SNA’s western boundary and serves as the main trail to explore this site. The DNR’s website shows a trail called Butler Lake Trail which overlaps with the IAT for a stretch and then peeling off and heading southeast somewhere within the SNA boundary, but I have found no such trail intersection.
I have been to this SNA twice and as it turns out both visits were on May 9, 5 years apart. The hike on the IAT atop the esker provides the best vantage points for the lake. I followed the IAT south for a good distance looking for the point where the Butler Lake trail peels off and had no such luck. Perhaps I didn’t head south far enough or perhaps the trail is no longer maintained and has become overgrown. The trail is listed on the DNR’s page for the state forest but not on various forest maps showing public trails. At the least, I can say that there is no sign for that trail. The wetlands south of the lake were flush with marsh marigolds, lending some bright yellows to the otherwise brown landscape. The lake appears to be a nice paddle, something that I intend to do in the near future, perhaps heading south down the stream toward Flynn’s Spring. My alternative approach will be to follow the horse trail, likely form the north to get closer to the spring or finally find that Butler Lake trail offshoot. Sometimes the investigation is half the fun!
More of my photos (and full-res) from Butler Lake & Flynn’s Spring can be viewed here.
|Natural Communities / Geology
||Lake, Spring, Sedge Meadow, Esker, Wetland|
|Parking||Parking Area (paved)|
|Easy to Find||Yes|
|Best Seen By||Foot/Kayak|
|Located Within||Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit|
|Dates Visited||5.9.10 / 5.9.15|