Straddling the Mississippi River, on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, Perrot State Park is a two-and-a-half hour car ride away and is found in the mysteriously beautiful Driftless Region. Most locals do not know that in their very own backyard is a geological anomaly. Before the most recent ice age, the Minnesota-Wisconsin landscape was covered with steep hills of sandstone and towering dolomite bluffs, especially near the rivers. But, as glaciers ravaged the land, they formed the now famous rolling prairies and flat meadows Minnesota is famous for today. Well, the glaciers somehow missed the southeast corner of Minnesota, which resulted in one of the only landscapes in the world where you can see what pre-glaciation looks like. Just imagine; dinosaurs roamed these untouched lands.
What Makes It Great
While camping at Perrot State Park, there is so much to do. There are a dozen different hiking trails to choose from, you can paddle Trempealau Bay’s canoe trail, or you can just sit back and relax at your walk-in campsite.
From the campground, there is a trail entrance for the Bay Trail, which is an easy 1-mile loop. The trail also forks and connects with the Great River State Trail, which is a 24-mile hiking/backpacking/mountain biking trail. If you want an easy nature walk, the .5-mile Black Walnut nature trail features 20 interpretive stops and a soft woodchip foundation. Keep an eye out for vibrantly colored butterflies and slowly maneuvering snails on the trail.
Since you’re in the Driftless Region though, it is necessary to climb up one of Perrot State Parks towering bluffs. The nearest bluff is Brady’s Peak, which offers 2-miles of hiking trails. It is a 520-ft climb up wooden steps, but it is well worth the climb when you get to see the scenic Trempealau Bay. If that’s not enough for you, there is the 1.5-mile long Perrot Ridge Trail, which again offers a 500-ft climb.
Not only does the park offer a good workout, but nature lovers will enjoy their time exploring the parks wetlands, upland fields, and steep wooded slopes which are home to hundreds of kinds of plants and animals. Springtime brings violets, wood geraniums, and jack-in-the-pulpits. Let’s not forget about the shooting stars, which cover the forest floor and give-off a pleasant aroma. The bluff prairies also offer colorful flower blooms in spring and late summer.
Who is Going to Love It
Those Twin Citizens who don’t mind a long drive and want a weekend away from the bustling city will enjoy Perrot State Park’s scenic river views and nature trails.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
It’s a simple and scenic ride down to Perrot State Park. To get there from Minneapolis, take I-94E. Follow the US-10 exit to WI-35 S. Stay on WI-35 S/Great River Road for 123 miles (a little over 2 hours). When you pass Trempealau National Wildlife Refuge, be prepared for WI-35 S to take a sharp right turn. Take a right of S Park Rd and follow the signs for Perrot State Park.
The park is open year-round from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Before parking your car, make sure to buy a vehicle admission pass at the park office. They offer gear rentals for all seasons as well.
There are in total 95 campsites, 4 of which are walk-in only. If you don’t have a cart, the park office offers pull-in carts. Campsite prices are very reasonable, but make sure to reserve ahead of time because the campground can fill up during weekends or holidays. Reserve a campsite online here or by calling 888-947-2757.