Visit one of SW Wisconsin’s finest recreation areas at Wyalusing State Park.
Wyalusing State Park was the second stop on our first summer camping vacation. This picturesque park has many great hiking and biking trails, an observatory, and Mississippi River access for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and boating. It is located across the Wisconsin River from Prairie du Chien.
When we arrived at the park we saw they were celebrating the 100th anniversary of its opening. We had no idea it was happening and just lucked into being there at the right time. One of the celebration events was a history hike, where I was able to learn all about the park. Wyalusing was first set up as a Civil Conservation Corp camp. All of the stone structures in the park are original to the CCC time period. The old park office is now an interpretation center that houses picnic table that was built by members of the CCC in the 1920s. The center has a lot of photographs and written explanations of the CCC activities. The park was once home to a baseball diamond where a local team hosted traveling teams back in the 1920s and 1930s. Effigy mounds are located throughout the park. These mounds were made by very early Native Americans in the shapes of bears, cones, and other animals. Effigy Mounds National Monument is located across the river in Iowa.
Camping at Wyalusing State Park
Wyalusing State Park has two campgrounds: Wisconsin Ridge and Homestead. Wisconsin Ridge is the one to stay at because of the amazing views. This campground is set along a ridge that overlooks the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. About half of the sites are reservable and the rest are first come, first serve. There is one long loop road that goes along the ridge, with the inner sites electric. All but one of the outer ridge sites are non-electric. That one electric space is FCFS and gets snatched up immediately. A few of the inner ridge sites have somewhat of a view, namely 128 and 130. We stayed in site 120, which was down at the end of the inner ridge. It was a nice shaded site, but it didn’t have a view. This is site 125, which is one of the best views.
This being a ridge, the terrain is steep. There are high and lower spots, which mean your legs get a workout when you walk to the bathroom. Even with steep terrain, the sites are fairly level. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring. Water fountains/spigots are scattered through the campground. The bath house is located in the middle of the loop. There are large bathrooms with several stalls, mirrors, outlets, and a long sink. A weather radio is going all the time out of a little speaker in the corner. The showers are individual stalls that open to the outside of the building. The entire building is nice and clean. There is an additional bathroom at the top of the ridge, which is convenient for hikers and other visitors. A concession stand, with snacks and simple essentials, is run by the Friends of Wyalusing, and located at the top of the ridge.
Sunset over the Mississippi River
The views and sunset from the ridge are amazing! I think it would be worth not having electricity so I could sit at the edge of the ridge and watch the view the whole time. Luckily we made friends with Peg & Al (who own the coolest little camper ever!) and got to sit and watch the sunset at their site. We also became friends with Juan, Jesse, Vinny, & Alex, whom we hope to camp with again sometime. We also met a Fil, a ukelele player, who inspired our daughter to get her own to play.
Wyalusing has been added to our list of favorite state parks to visit. If you are looking to camp in the area, we highly recommend the Wisconsin Ridge campground to everyone! Learn more about Wyalusing State Park here.
Want more Wisconsin camping? Check out our review of Peninsula State Park in Door County.