Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A quick stop at Rocky Arbor State Park

Here's another smaller state park property you should make the effort to stop by and explore at some point, especially with its close proximity to the bustling Wisconsin Dells area, aka the Las Vegas of the Midwest. There are two state parks in the Wisconsin Dells proximity- Mirror Lake (which is gorgeous) and the one this blog post is dedicated to, Rocky Arbor.

At 244 acres, Rocky Arbor State Park is definently one of the tinier state parks in the system but its definently got its own unique charm and doesn't disappoint. The main draw is the campground, with 89 sites in a wooded setting, about 18 of which offer electrical hookups. It's close enough to the interstate and the main Wisconsin Dells attraction areas to provide an outdoor escape for those looking to soak up a bit of nature while on vacation. And a brief escape into solitude it was for me it was on my drive back to Milwaukee from an epic weekend up at Roche-A-Cri State Park.

This is a park you'll only need an hour or so at to take it all in. There's only one main hiking trail about a mile or so long, but it's a great trail that takes you past some very, very, very wild-looking, intriguing, stellar rock formations caked in all sorts of vegetation. The trail starts at the west end of the parking lot and heads into the woods. Take your time and slowly trek your way down the trail, pausing every so often to look at the waves and jagged rock ledges. The shapes, textures and colors are crazy cool. A lot of these formations were just mind-boggling to look at and try to comprehend. The trail carves its way parallel along the rock ledges and on the left side is a serene marsh. At one point along the hike, a towering huge rock juts out of the marsh between you and the rock ledge. Clearly if you're a tree geek like I am, this park is loaded with a perfect swath of trees darting upwards from all the rock. You'll eventually scale some creaky wooden steps to reach the remainder of the looped trail that follows the ridge of the rock ledge. You're in hardwood forest now until you get back down again to the fork, which takes you back to your car. It's a short, simple and fun little hike.

The main gate into the park closes during its off-season (Labor day to Memorial Day), but you're still welcome to park in front of the gate and hike in. And you should! Cross another park off my list? Check. Enjoy the photos below.