My first camping trip of 2016 came the second weekend in June. Of course my wife and I had already camped in the yard several times this spring, but our trip to Mauthe Lake was the first time we’d picked a campground, made a reservation, packed up all of our gear, and took a weekend away from our everyday norm.
It was a lot different than pitching a tent at home. This camping weekend was a blur of weather and activities. We braved temperatures between 50 and 100 degrees, wild bolts of lightning, insects-a-plenty, kids-a-many, neighboring camping groups by the dozen; all the while enjoying a much-needed adventure!
The night we arrived, we were barely able to finish setting up camp before a massive thunderstorm hit. We could see the thick clouds rolling in from a great distance, while shades of blue and gray flooded the sky. Then the winds arrived and blew our tent into a horizontal position—putting the poles to the ultimate test! The storm reached down and plucked several of our bent and worn stakes out of the ground, leaving our protective ground tarp exposed to the elements.
Meanwhile, the last members of our group were arriving. They were in mid set up of their tent, when the winds started hacking away at our campsite. While Rhesia ran to reset our tents stakes, I helped our friends get their tent in an upright position. Then Rhesia and I spent some time restructuring of our tarp shelter, which we had originally jimmy-rigged to hang over the picnic tables with bungee cords, rope, stakes, and found sticks.
It was a wild arrival, nothing short of fantastic. You see, this wasn’t the first time my wife and I camped in crazy weather. Our camping trip in the Lake District of Northwest, England was a doozy. That weekend we slept next to a river that doesn’t actually exist, and hiked over three miles in footy pajamas and cheap Wellies—while carrying a waterlogged double sleeping bag, leather jackets, and a borrowed, broken tent. Luckily, this time around we were prepared with more experience and better gear.
Site number: 536
Site type: Standard; Non-electric
Check-in time: 3:00 P.M.
Check-out time: 3:00 P.M.
Site amenities: fire pit, picnic table
Max # of cars: 2 compact/full-sized cars
Max # of people: 6
Distance from facilities:
- Male/Female (multiple stall) bathroom: 1 min walk
- Female (personal) bathroom: 1 min walk
- Showers: 5 min walk
- Water source: 1 min walk
- Beach: 20 min walk
- North: walking path to showers; neighboring campsite
- South: trees
- East: grassy field of public space
- West: trees
Campsite Pros and Cons
- Trees on two sides
- Close to bathrooms/water source/path to showers/Ice Age Trail entrance
- Lack of privacy
- Very small: This site could accommodate two cars and two tents, tops. With one car, you could fit three tents.
- Excessively deep fire pit: We struggled to get air to our fire, causing it to keep dying out.
Overall campsite comments:
Our group was a little disappointed with our campsite (not the campground). We were out in the open, with a path to the showers on one side and a field directly in front of our site. This was the spot where groups of kids would come to play.
All of the campsites in the 530s surround the grassy field, and seem perfect for groups with children. Most of the 540s are in a separate section surrounded by trees. They have more privacy, and are even closer to the entrance to the Ice Age Trail (but further from the beach and the showers).
Reserve America suggested that site 536 could accommodate up to two cars and six people. I think this information was a little misleading. With two cars in the campsite, we definitely couldn’t fit more than two tents. I think the site description should [more accurately] suggest that you can either have two cars and two tents, or one car and three tents.
Mauthe Lake Campground
(Information obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website.)
Name: Kettle Moraine-North: Mauthe Lake Campground
Phone Number: (262)626-4305
Amenities in camping areas:
- Vault toilet bathrooms with toilet paper and hand sanitizer
- Private shower rooms with locking doors
- Water source and water fountain
Amenities by lake:
- Public beach
- Picnic area
- Flush toilet bathrooms with running water and soap
- Changing room with shower stalls
- Concession stand with deep-fried appetizers/ice cream/soda/chips/burgers/hot dogs
- Hiking trails
- Parking areas
- Boat launch ramp
- Firewood vending machine (No, I’m not joking!)
Campground pros and cons
- Clean, well-stocked bathrooms
- Clean and easily accessible shower facilities
- Friendly park workers
- Very busy in the camping areas, and even busier at the beach
Overall campground comments:
We had a fantastic time at Mauthe Lake campground, from the moment we arrived. Check-in was a breeze, and the park workers were friendly and helpful.
On the second night, we were approached by two park workers. They checked our ids and asked us to turn off our music. They were very polite and we had no problem complying.
Making a reservation:
I reserved the site on ReserveAmerica.com. It was a pretty smooth process. I searched for a site within the Mauthe Lake Campground by looking at a map of all the campsites. Then I picked the dates, and paid with my credit card. The hardest part was finding an available site, because I waited so long to make my reservation. I’d recommend reserving your site at least three weeks in advance.
Until next time…
Campers, I hope you’ll make time to visit this lovely campground! Of course, If you have any questions you can leave a comment below, contact me on social media, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll leave you with a question: What is your favorite Wisconsin campground?
Thank you so much for reading!
If you need me, I’m just Two Tents Down!