Remarkable for the large area of deep forest and the mountain-like creek that it protects, Baxter's Hollow is the Conservancy's largest preserve in Wisconsin. Despite years of human habitation, this area still seems wild and untouched.
Spring is an especially good time to visit: the wildflowers are in bloom and the migratory songbirds have returned from their wintering grounds in Latin America.
South Central Wisconsin: Sauk County between Sauk City and Baraboo — about 45 minutes north of Madison
Open year-round, dawn to dusk
The unmarked trail is very primitive. Off-trail conditions are very rocky.
Some parcels of land within the preserve remain in private ownership — please do not trespass. The preserve boundaries are marked with small, yellow signs featuring The Nature Conservancy logo.
The Nature Conservancy first came to the Baraboo Hills in the early 1960s at the request of local residents and university professors who recognized the unique nature of this area. They wanted the Conservancy's help in protecting it.
Baxter's Hollow is an important site for at least two reasons: it contains a good portion of the Otter Creek watershed, and it provides the deep woods that forest songbirds need.
Since 1969, The Nature Conservancy has steadily been acquiring parcels of land here. As of September 18, 2013, the Conservancy owns a total of 5,616 acres, making it the largest preserve in the Baraboo Hills.
Private landowners in the Baraboo Hills have been important to the Conservancy's preservation efforts at Baxter's Hollow, making cooperative conservation of this critical bird and wildlife habitat possible.
In spring, a variety of wildflowers bloom in the forest, including
The rich forest covering Baxter's Hollow is part of Wisconsin's largest intact southern deciduous forest. You can see oak, hickory, maple, ash, yellow birch, white pine, maple and basswood.
More than 40 species of birds breed here, making the Hollow one of the most important nesting areas for forest-dwelling birds in southern Wisconsin. Birds that are rare in the state — such as the Worm-eating Warbler and the Hooded Warbler — can be found here.
Otter Creek is the thread that ties the preserve together. The creek is home to a rich collection of aquatic life rare in Wisconsin, including the pickerel frog and at least five species of caddisflies found in few other places.
Please see "Preserve Visitation Guidelines"
In accordance with the Department of Justice’s amended regulation implementing Title III of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding "Other Power‐Driven Mobility Devices,” Baxter's Hollow Preserve has completed an assessment of our public areas and trails. While some types of OPDMDs can be accommodated, there are necessary restrictions on their use. Please download and review the policy prior to your visit.