Devil's Lake

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

Location Map

Devils Lake: Topography Only

A simple geologic map of Devil's Lake. Quartzite bluffs are shown in dark purple.

Devil's lake is a classic geologic area because it displays so many features in such a small area. This page deals only with the landforms of Devil's Lake, not with stratigraphy or structure. The principal events that shaped Devil's Lake included:

Devil's Lake lies above the land outside the gorge. It has one small inlet stream but no outlets. Lake level is maintained by seepage through the moraines. Any landform connected in any way with underground processes had a good chance of being named Devil's this or that in years past. 

Views from the North

The view below, a telephoto view from Baraboo, shows the north end of the Devil's Lake gorge with the moraine dam. The distant bluffs are on the south end of the gorge.

Good views of the moraine from close by are hard to find. This view from Gall Road is about the best. The top of the moraine is just visible as a straight line just above the trees.
A view from County DL looking west across the north end of the gorge. 

Panorama of Devil's Lake

The panorama below spans from northwest (left) to due east (right). It begins looking northwest at the west bluffs. To the right is the northern moraine dam, due north of the photo stop. Next to the right are the east bluffs. The apparent high point is due to perspective. The high point is the corner where the bluffs change from north to east in orientation, and this point is the part of the bluffs nearest the camera. To the right of the bluffs is the southeastern moraine dam. The view direction across this dam is due east.

East Gorge and Devil's Nose

The panorama below, taken from South Lake Road looking from due south (left) to west (right), shows where the gorge turns south. The high ridge is called Devil's Nose. The literature does not explain the horizontal bench halfway up Devil's Nose, but it is about level with the top of the moraine dam and might mark a short-lived ice-marginal drainage.

This view, taken from State Highway 113, spans from south (left) to northwest (right). It shows the southward opening of the gorge on the extreme left. Devil's Nose (southwest) is the high round hill. The moraine dam (west) fills the low notch at right center. To its right are the bluffs on the north side of the gorge. The extreme right hand edge of the view is looking northwest.

A somewhat closer view of the moraine dam, looking west from State Highway 113.


Dalziel, I. W. D. and Dott, R. H.; Geology of the Baraboo District, Wisconsin. Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, Information Circular 14, 160 p. 

Return to Geology of Wisconsin Index
Return to Geologic Localities Index
Return to Professor Dutch's Home Page

Created 5 June 2001, Last Update 11 Jan 2020