Pier 1500x800

Winter Rentals

How To Rent With Us

To reserve winter rental gear with Outdoor UW, please contact us at (608) 262-1630 or via outdooruw@union.wisc.edu. Please note that staffing is limited. If the team does not answer the phone, please leave a message, and a team member will return your call as soon as possible.

Policies and Forms

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. 

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.

Where do I 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.

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.