Hiking in west central Wisconsin is abundant in public lands. There are four major blocks of land with thousands of acres all with specific geological interest: Black River Falls State Forest in Jackson County, Wildcat Mountain State Park in Vernon County, Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge and Perrot State Park both in Trempealeau County. It is possible to spend weeks discovering all the treasures in these public lands. This is an undiscovered part of Wisconsin. The Refuge has only 60,000 visitors in a year.
Wild Cat Mountain State Park is located in the bluff area with steep rock outcroppings, Kickapoo River, the “crookedest” river flowing through the park with trails for hiking or horseback riding. A State Park day or season pass is required.
The county roads wind through miles of hills, rivers, farms, and quaint towns. Many Amish people with their horse and buggy life style live in this area. The night sky is very clear, and one can view many more stars on Wildcat Mountain than at other parks. Satellites and the Milky Way are very visible, showing up as a pretty pale blue band across the night sky.
Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge is free and open to the public with a viewing area to watch migrating birds on the Mississippi River. An interpretive center and the Great River Bicycle Trail runs through the Refuge.
The Refuge was established in 1936. It lies within the Mississippi River Valley in west-central Wisconsin. Land was isolated from the Mississippi and Trempealeau Rivers by levees built in 1911 to provide refuge for a variety of habitats including sand prairies and marshes. The Refuge is an important area for waterfowl and other migratory birds. It provides habitat for bald eagles, osprey, black terns and pelicans.
Perrot State Park at Trempealeau includes an island mountain and miles of trails for hiking. The Great River State Bicycle Trail runs through a small part of the park. A State Park day or season pass is required.
There is a great description of the geology of the area in which Trempealeau National wildlife Refuge and Perrot State Park. | Click here for more info |
Hixon forest in La Crosse offers bluffside hiking.
Norskedalen offers hiking on this non-profit Norwegian Immigrant settlement.
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The Black River State Forest was established in 1957 which includes approximately 67,000 acres in Jackson County. The area is unique among the state forests mainly because of its geological features. The Forest lies on the edge of the glaciated central plain east of the rough coulee region or Driftless area of Wisconsin. If you hike the nature trail to the top of Castle Mound, one can observe what was once the bed of glacial Lake Wisconsin. Unglaciated buttes, sandstone hills, and castellated bluffs such as Castle Mound dot the vast forest landscape. Black River State Forest is at the edge of the Wisconsin Glacier. A State Park day or season pass is required.
Sparta, WI is a fantastic area to use as home base to hike miles and miles of scenic wonderland known as “God’s Country” in G. Heilman Brewing Company’s advertising campaigns of the 1970s and 1980s. Justin Trails Resort is the perfect Wisconsin lodging option for your hiking adventure. Hike 10 miles of trails on-premise. Try your skill at disc golf on Classic and Big Brother courses. There are loaner discs in the Lodge for your use.
Our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast mission is to honor the land, environment and create a healing refuge for recreation, relaxation and rejuvenation for our Sparta Cabins guests. We support rural, sustainable tourism by promoting local vendors who live and provide guests with recreation, food and lodging in the hills and valleys of southwest Wisconsin also known as the Driftless region. Justin Trails was established in 1985.