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Winter Rentals

OUW RentalWebHeaders Snowshoes2

Snowshoes 1 Night  Weekend 
UW-Madison Student or Union Member $8 $10
Faculty/Staff or Guest $13 $15
Trekking Poles w/ Snowshoes  $2 $2 

Contact us about private group experiences and packages!

Policies and Forms

General Rules And Information

General Rules

  • Renters must be 18+ years. 
  • A valid ID must be presented, including government issued ID card, UW-Madison student ID card, or Wisconsin Union membership cards.
  • If renting equipment for a group, the individual renting equipment is responsible for all equipment as indicated on the contract and any late, lost, repair or cleaning fees.
  • Rentals are first-come, first-served unless otherwise designated.
  • No pets allowed on or in any rental items.
  • Payment in full is required for all off-site rentals.
  • All rental equipment is to be used as intended by the manufacturer. Customers are encouraged to request a demonstration in the proper use of all equipment rental items.

We are able to accommodate individuals and groupsContact us to discuss your group rental needs. 

Late/Cleaning/Damage Fees And Cancellation Policy

All cleaning, damage or late fees are assessed and due at the time of equipment return. Renters are responsible for returning gear in a condition that is similar to the time of pick-up.

Late Fees: 
Rentals are due by 7pm the following day if taken out Sunday-Thursday. Rentals are due by 2pm the following day if taken out on Friday and Saturday. An extra night will be charged if rentals are not returned on time. 

Cleaning Fees: 
A $15 cleaning fee will be applied if equipment is returned dirty, wet or stained.

Damage Fees: 

  • Equipment should be returned in reasonable condition, not outside of the normal use of rentals. All damage fees are assessed by the Outdoor UW staff and due at the time of return or shortly after and will account for repair cost and time. Any unpaid charges will be sent to a collections agency. 
  • If equipment is returned in unusable condition or if it is lost or stolen, the full replacement value of the equipment will be charged 

Cancellation Policy: 
While we want each customer to have the best experience, it is the responsibility of the renter to prepare for poor weather conditions. We will not refund for time lost during an individual rental session. We require at least a 24-hour advance notice for group cancellations to receive a credit with Outdoor UW for the deposit.


Rental Information & Forms - General Information, Rules and Regulations

Group Rental Forms - Please read rental information below. Must be completed and signed by every participant in the group.

To be documented and submitted if injury/accident:

Logistics And General FAQs

How Do I Find Outdoor UW?

We are located on the lower level of Memorial Union, on the Lake Mendota shoreline, just west of the Memorial Union Terrace. Access Outdoor UW through the Memorial southwest entrance or from the shore. 

What Should I Wear?

As always, dress for the weather! While snowshoeing, it is important to layer. Since it is a cold weather activity, layering with a wicking-base layer, a warm mid jacket, and a protective outer shell will provide the best coverage and warmth while also providing the ability to lose a layer if you become too warm. Insulated and water protected boots with a wool or synthetic sock to help manage foot moisture are highly recommended.

What Should I Bring?

For any type of rental, remember to bring money and your ID! We also recommend you bring...

  • A $1 to rent a day-use locker (if you are staying nearby)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle with clip
  • A snack depending on the length of your trek. Snowshoeing requires extra effort compared to general hiking, so plan conservatively!

We have some items for sale, such as sunscreen, snacks and beverages, water pouches, and lip balm. 

Are Lockers Available?

Yes! There are coin-operated lockers located in the hallway right before the boathouse. If you do not have quarters, we can break a dollar. (Sorry, we cannot accept debit/credit payment in exchange for quarters.)

Where to Go When there's Fresh Snow

Snowshoeing is a great way to experience winter. But wherever you go, please stay on designated snowshoe trails—snow is habitat and there’s a lot going on under the surface!

Minutes from Campus

UW Arboretum
Driving Directions: West entrance: Off Seminole Highway, just north of the Hwy 12. East entrance: At Haywood Dr. and N. Wingra Dr. / S. Mills St., near St. Mary’s Hospital. 
Bus Route: #19 WB from University & Park to Mohawk & Seminole. Walk north to McCaffrey Dr. Other routes that serve the UW Arboretum include: 3, 4, 7, 18, 44, 47, 58

Hoyt Park
Driving Directions: Take Regent St. west and continue on Regent past Madison West High School.
Bus Route: #6 SB from N. Lake & State to Speedway & Highland. Walk west along Regent St.

Other city parks with snowshoe trails include Garner Park, Warner Park and Knollwood Conservation Park.

A Short Drive

Lake Farm County Park/Capital Springs State Recreation Area
Distance from Campus: approx. 20 minutes by car
Driving Directions: Take Hwy 12 east and exit at Broadway/South Towne Dr. Head south on South Towne Dr. and turn left on Moorland Rd.
Bus Route*: #13 WB from University & N Park. Transfer at South Transfer Point to #5 to exit at Moorland & Manor.
*Note: This route takes approximately 1 hour

Another county park with snowshoe trails is Pheasant Branch Creek Conservancy in Middleton.

State Parks

Blue Mound State Park
Distance from Campus: approx. 40 minutes by car
Driving Directions: Take Hwy 18 west. Turn right onto County Hwy FN and left onto County Hwy ID. Turn right onto Mounds Rd. to enter the park.

Devil's Lake State Park
Distance from Campus: approx. 1 hour by car
Driving Directions: Take Hwy 12 west. Turn right onto WI-59 east and follow signs into the park. Other popular state parks for snowshoeing include Kettle Moraine State Forest, Peninsula State Park and High Cliff State Park.

Lake And Weather Conditions

All Outdoor UW snowshoe rentals are subject to the discretion of the renter. We advise proper planning when taking equipment, which includes examining weather reports and preparing in the case of bad weather or conditions. Lake Mendota, as well as other bodies of water with significant depth that freeze over, are inherently dangerous and travel on frozen bodies of water is at the risk of the renter. 

Additional Information

Ready to take your outdoor adventuring to the next level? Want to be part of a close community of other outdoor enthusiasts, from novice to experts? The Wisconsin Hoofers clubs might be just the thing you're looking for. With six different clubs catering to all kinds of different outdoor activities, the Wisconsin Hoofers have something for everyone. To learn more about these clubs or to become a member, please visit the Wisconsin Hoofers page.