Photo by Tadeusz Lakota
Winter Along the Northern Mississippi River!
There’s a Norwegian saying, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothes!”. This is very true along the Wisconsin border of the Mississippi River. The winter snow landscape can be breathtaking. People wait all year for their opportunity to get out into the pristine whiteness and enjoy the outdoors. So bundle up, maybe bring the pup along, and check out these great winter weather activities.
Photo by Brad Fickeisen
Your dog is welcome to hit the trails and do some winter hiking with you in Wisconsin’s State Parks and along the Wisconsin Great River Road, you’ll find four of them! Kinnickinnic State Park, Merrick State Park, Perrot State Park, and Nelson Dewey State Park. The parks all have great hiking, but we did pick out a few of our favorites. The Perrot Ridge Trail in Perrot State Park is a beautiful trail which can be a little steep (expect stairs) but in this 1.5 miles you will discover prairies, ridge tops, and a gorgeous view of the Mississippi River Valley. The Yellow Trail at Kinnickinnic State Park starts at the Kinni Overlook and offers the opportunity to extend your hike with several connections to further loops.
Photo by Matthieu Pétiard
The Wisconsin Mississippi River bluffs rise upwards of 500 feet from their base. Downhill skiing is a popular winter pastime and you can hit the slopes at Mt. La Crosse. This ski hill has 18 slopes and trails and 3 chair lifts plus one tow rope. It’s home to both Wisconsin’s longest run and the Midwest’s steepest trail. For the cross country skier, the State Parks along the Wisconsin Great River Road offer both groomed trails and the opportunity to break your own. (They do ask that you keep your dog off of the groomed trails.) If you like to blaze your own path, Nelson Dewey State Park does not plow the roads in the wintertime. The entrance to the park and parking lot are maintained, and from there, you are welcome to explore.
Photo by Jon Hieb
In recent years Wyalusing State Park has begun to garner a reputation for Ice Climbing. From mild climbs to difficult (WI-4, Water Ice-grade 4, purely vertical with no obvious feet). This sport can be a little less stressful than rock climbing, because you can kick your own footholds and make handholds with an ice axe. If you’re looking to give it a try, be sure to have the proper equipment. If you are looking to do winter hiking where you will be rewarded with some beautiful ice formations, then the Kickapoo Valley Reserve is a good place to go. Water from springs drips over rock ledges and forms ice sheets, like frozen waterfalls.
Photo by David Schultz
The Kickapoo Valley Reserve has more than spectacular winter hiking trails, they also offer winter camping. Snowshoeing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and fat biking are all popular winter sports in the Reserve. Be sure to check out their website to learn if trails are groomed or open. They do have a handy map of the different trail types and where you can find ice formations.