- Explore Parks
Prairie Ridge Conservation Park is located in Madison's far southwest side. The original 48 acres of land was purchased by the City of Madison in 1992 using State Stewardship grant money. The remaining 4 acres were acquired in 2003 due to land dedication from the Ice Age Falls Development.
Prairie Ridge Conservation Park features steep topography. This topography allowed for steep prairies, a.k.a. goat prairies - as only goats would be able to traverse this steep slope. In the past much of this land was plowed and used for farmland. However, these 'goat prairies' were spared the plowing. In 1993, City Staff planted an additional 20 acres of prairie on the former cropland. During this restoration work, it was discovered that this diverse prairie included the state endangered Prairie Bush Clover. In 1992, this was one of only 7 known locations of the plant. Since that time, the plant remains endangered but is known to exist in 20 different locations.
In 2003-2004, the Parks Staff created an additional .4 miles of trails through the newly-acquired land bringing the total trail mileage to 1.2. The new trails at the park got a fresh layer of gravel thanks to the hard work of volunteers during an Earth Day Challenge and Day of Caring projects.
In a year or two there will be a retention pond installed in the drainage way that forms the western boundary of the park. At that time an additional trail loop will be added to allow park visitors to enjoy this water feature. Native wetland plants will be planted in and along this new pond. There will also be a trail link that will connect to the National Ice Age Trail. Hikers will be able to walk to the south to visit the acres of prairie restoration growing on Dane County Parks near Redden Soccer Park or travel to the west via the University Ridge golf Course to reach the Terminal Moraine, which marks the furthest western movement of the last glacier 10,000 years ago.
Features 1.2 miles of trails.