Why is it called Big Foot Beach State Park? Good question. Fortunately there’s a fairly short answer.
Big Foot (an English translation) was an early leader of the Potawatomi in this area. Geneva Lake (or Lake Geneva) used to be called Big Foot Lake. The park itself is just across the road from a beach on said lake. Thus, Big Foot Beach State Park which has been around since 1949.
What’s So Special about Big Foot Lake State Park?
In a word, nothing.
That’s not to say it’s a bad state park. It’s just that there’s nothing about the park itself that stands out. There’s no tower, no steep hills, no special wildlife, no unusual trails.
Other than Ceylon Lagoon and the lake across the street – both of which are good for water-related activities – there’s not a lot to say about Big Foot Beach.
Hiking the colored (green, black, yellow, blue, orange, purple, red) trails is easy because they are extremely well-marked. In fact, as someone who’s not a fisher, swimmer, boater, hunter*, or camper, this fact makes Big Foot Beach quite memorable to me.
*Only bow hunting is permitted at Big Foot Beach.
Some park trails leave you wondering which way to go (looking at you, Rib Mountain) from time to time. Big Foot Beach designers even put a trail marker out in the middle of a grassy mowed area (between the playground and the volleyball court) so you wouldn’t lose your way.
Don’t look to hard for that sign in the pictures below. It’s not there. If you’re seeing them side by side, it would fall in the gap between them.
The Wildlife and Trails of Big Foot Beach State Park
Just because I said there was nothing special about the colored trails or the wildlife at Big Foot Beach, that doesn’t mean it’s not interesting.
On this visit, we followed the Green Trail (most of the time) which is a 2.5 mile loop that encompasses virtually all of the park. Usually you’re walking in the shadow of the trees along the trail, but there are large expanses of open savannah along the way.
There were many brightly-colored flowers this time of year (July) including cone flowers, daisies, and others that I sadly don’t know the proper names for.
The maintenance workers do a nice job of keeping the trails clean, so there were no fallen trees blocking our way. The closest to this was an arching tree which made for a nice picture and a large chunk o’ wood along the side of the trail.
Since the trails were clean, it was easy to see this little guy, which I think is a green tiger beetle, skittering along the path.
Most, if not all, of the benches had side boards made on concrete. Unfortunately most of the seats looked moldy and not very inviting. I’m sure the mold wouldn’t have hurt anything, but still….
The trail map (see below) of the park is well-made. We did discover a few unmarked items along the Green Trail. This firepit is on a spur going north where the trail abuts the property of Badger High School.
There’s a short section of the Green Trail near the main road that is actually a boardwalk.
In the western section of the park is a 0.4 mile loop called a self-guided Nature Trail.
There are two minor features of this trail that make it slightly different from the rest of the trails. One is the signage – not colored. The other is the signage – informational plaques along the way.
Other than that, they might just as well have called this the White or Teal or Chartreuse Trail for consistency.
The Waters of Big Foot Beach State Park
I’m sure that those who come to Big Foot Beach for the water fun – swimming, fishing, boating – just consider it an extension of Geneva Lake which, again, is just across a road (Lake Shore Dr.) that is not hard to cross on foot.
As I mentioned earlier, we walked the Green Trail most of the time, but we veered off it to take part of the Blue Trail and part of the Nature Trail so we could get to Ceylon Lagoon faster.
We first came upon the southernmost of two bridges that span the lagoon.
Fishing was decent this day, according to that fisher. He was reeling in some bluegill.
From that bridge you can see the other bridge to the north. Not that that bridge is hard to get to, but there’s no marked trail that leads to it. You just have to walk along the edge of the lagoon.
Also from the southern bridge you can see the fishing pier at the south end of the lagoon.
The pier itself looks like this. That’s the south bridge in the distance.
For the fishers among you, you’ll be glad (I think) to know that live (I hope) bait is readily available.
I’ve never seen such a vending machine before.
Near the fishing pier is this sign which we obviously didn’t make use of on this trip.
The Birds of Big Foot Beach
Besides the wildlife already mentioned, I could only identify – by sight or sound – five different bird species on this trip. I heard a cardinal, a blue jay, and a woodpecker. I saw a goldfinch and this swallow.
These are relatively common birds which just goes along with what I’ve been saying about Big Foot Beach – very nice, but nothing extra special.
Oh, one more item about the wildlife. Just before we left, we ate lunch (thanks, Kwik Trip) at a picnic table in the shade near the parking lot. Shortly before we were done, I felt something hit my hat. I pulled my hat off but didn’t see anything on it – no seed, no bug, no nuthin’.
A few minutes later, as we were driving out of the park, I could feel something on my neck that wasn’t supposed to be there.
It was a spiky caterpillar that wanted to hitch a ride. I didn’t oblige and tossed him out the window without even taking his picture.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (3 miles)
Nearest Emergency Facility
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (3 miles)
6:00 AM to 11:00 PM, year-round
Vehicle admission sticker required