Skip to main content

Blue Mounds to host candlelight hike Saturday

Hikers encouraged to carpool, buy their permits online
Lori Sorenson

The Blue Mounds State Park will host its fourth annual Candlelight Hike from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at the park’s main entrance off Highway 75.
The event will represent a return to tradition after two years off. “The last one held was in January of 2020, and we're excited to offer it again,” said park manager Chris Ingebretsen.
He said the forecast looks favorable for the nighttime event that takes hikers along three miles of groomed, candlelit trails that include a warming station, fire ring, a campfire at the turnaround, hot cocoa and more.
A lighted trail will take hikers from the picnic shelter to the west, down to the picnic grounds parking area. From there it will follow the bike trail for a mile before making the return hike.  
Ingebretsen said the path will be cleared of deep snow, but hikers should be prepared to trek through 2 to 3 inches of snow.  
“If time allows, volunteers may light an optional return loop following the Lower Cliffline Trail that would be on deep snow and might require snowshoes,” he said. 
The forecast temperatures look favorable for the Candlelight Hike.  
“I'm hoping that visitors will still be able to see the green comet that night, which should be at its brightest on Jan. 31, but might still be visible on Feb. 4, near the end of the tail of the Little Dipper,” Ingebretsen said.
“The trail will be lit well enough that hikers can walk without carrying a flashlight or headlamp. Using one can really detract from other visitors’ experience by taking away their night vision.”
He said those who carry a flashlight for emergencies are asked to use it only if necessary and to point the beam directly at the ground as much as possible. He also suggested wrapping the flashlight with colored cellophane to dim the glare.
The Friends of Blue Mounds State Park will be assisting at the event, serving hot chocolate and cookies. They are still accepting volunteers to help at
Workers at Rock County Opportunities are preparing the “candle bags” with weights.  
Ingebretsen said visitors who are new to the park should follow the brown signs on U.S. Highway 75 to the main park entrance on 161st Street. 
“GPS may take visitors to one of the two entrances on the south end of the park, so we advise visitors to ignore their GPS once they are traveling on Highway 75 and follow the road signs to the main entrance instead,” Ingebretsen said.
“We’re expecting a large crowd and will be using volunteers to park cars. We’d like to encourage people to carpool as much as they can.”
Visitors can skip the line at the park entrance by purchasing a vehicle permit online at

You must log in to continue reading. Log in or subscribe today.