Mirror Lake State Park
The park was established by the Wisconsin Legislature in 1961, and opened to the public in 1966. It covers over 2,000 acres. Much of the lakeshore is formed by sandstone cliffs up to fifty feet in height, and surrounded by pine and oak forests.
Mirror Lake obtains its name from the fact of its calm waters that often do not have a ripple. Dell Creek heads southeast, turns at a right angle, and runs through Mirror Lake and Lake Dell to the Wisconsin River.
Long ago, a gigantic glacier covered much of the state. Geologists believe that glacial outwash blocked the original creek, diverting its channel at a right angle. The sandstone rock is believed to be the result of deposits of sand brought by ancient rivers emptying into shallow inland seas.
There is a more recent history behind the formation of the lake. A wooden dam was created in 1860 to accommodate Horace LeBar’s flour mill. This was replaced in 1925 by the current concrete dam.
In 1970, the Department of Natural Resources engineers found the dam to be in poor repair and ordered that it be repaired or removed. After a number of years, the dam was turned over to the local county, which assessed a special tax to save the dam and to make repairs.
Private industry, private landowners, county officials, and the state department worked together, saving the lake and a natural area.
See maps of the park.
(This page was updated November 2012.)