Why You Should Visit
Lulu Lake glitters amidst the rich marshes of the upper Mukwonago River watershed. When viewed through the lens of species richness and water quality, this 95-acre kettle lake (a lake created by the glaciers) and its watershed comprise one of Wisconsin's highest quality natural areas.
Southeastern Wisconsin: 35 minutes southwest of Milwaukee in Walworth and Waukesha counties
Open year round, dawn to dusk.
For more information about on the preserve itself contact the Conservancy's local office:
N8957 Pickerel Jay Road
East Troy, WI 53120
Tel: (262) 642-7276
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Because of the high-quality stream surrounded by wetlands and oak openings, which provides habitat for rare fish, mussels and plants.
An oak opening is dominated by clustered, open-grown bur oaks and white oaks, and shagbark hickory. The ground is covered with prairie and forest plants.
Before agricultural settlement there were more than 5.5 million acres of oak openings in Wisconsin. Today only about 500 acres survive. Between 50-80 of these acres are found around Lulu Lake. The Conservancy is using fire and manual removal of non-native plants to restore and maintain them.
Scientific researchers interested in several topics — oak openings; the hydrology of sedge meadows and fens; and rare species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and butterflies — have used the preserve as an outdoor laboratory.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
The Conservancy made its first acquisition at Lulu Lake in 1986 and, as of today, owns 553 acres. Another 419 acres are being protected by private individuals and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources State Natural Areas Program.
We have expanded our work in this area to include the entire Mukwonago River Watershed. We have an office and staff in the East Troy area and are working cooperatively with many different public and private partners to accomplish the following:
- Protect the water quality of and natural areas within the Mukwonago River Watershed.
- Manage our preserves to maintain rare natural communities and provide habitat for fish, mussels, amphibians and reptiles. This includes removing Eurasian water-milfoil and other aquatic invasive species.
- Work with individuals and organizations concerned with the health of the watershed to help balance watershed protection with human needs and economic health.
Dan Small and Outdoor Wisconsin tour Lulu Lake to learn about efforts to remove invasive narrow-leaf cattails invading the wetlands.
Dan Small and Outdoor Wisconsin tour Lulu Lake with Nature Conservancy Land Steward Jerry Ziegler.
What to See: Plants
Surrounding the lake and along the river are various types of wetlands including fens, bogs and sedge meadows. On the higher ground, you will find prairie remnants and oak openings. In early summer, shooting stars and other wildflowers are abundant.
The northern kittentail is this preserve's most endangered plant. In the spring, this plant produces foot-high flowering stems resembling — you guessed it — the tail of a young feline.
What to See: Birds, Fish
Fish: Of the 150 fish species native to Wisconsin, 59 can be found in Lulu Lake and the Mukwonago River! The river is home to several rare fish species, including the longear sunfish. The clear, deep lake water provides habitat for glacial relict fish such as the blackchin shiner and the Iowa darter
Birds: Other significant species are Cooper's hawks, migrating ospreys and nesting pairs of sandhill cranes.
Lulu Lake has yet to be thoroughly inventoried, so other rare species may be present. Several plant and animal inventories are currently underway.
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,” Lulu Lake 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.
From Milwaukee (a 35-minute drive):
- Take I-43 south to East Troy, then take State Hwy 20 west to Cnty Hwy N.
- Take Cnty Hwy N north to Troy Center, where it will change to Nature Rd.
- Take Nature Rd. 1.5 miles north and turn right at a driveway marked N9564 — the number is clearly marked. This is a private road leading to the preserve.
From Madison (a 75-minute drive):
- Take US Hwy 12 about 8 miles past Whitewater to the junction of 12 and State Hwy 20.
- Go straight onto 20. At the intersection of 20 and Cnty Hwy J, continue straight on J to Nature Road at Troy Center.
- Turn left and take Nature Rd. 1.5 miles north
- Turn right at a driveway marked N9564 — this is a private road leading to the preserve.
All of our preserve maps are now georeferenced. You can download the free PDF Maps app on your Apple or Android device, and it will allow you to view your location, record GPS tracks, add placemarks and find places.