Next stop on my freestyle adventure was Wyalusing State Park in Bagley, WI. Located in the far southwestern corner of the state, this location is unique as it overlooks the confluence of the Wisconsin River into the Mississippi River. The state of Iowa is also visible from the bluffs. Weather was still very grey and overcast which is somewhat disappointing for sky photos, but the green of the foliage was almost neon-colored by contrast. This is a fantastic park, and to this point one of my favorites in Wisconsin – I highly suggest a visit!
After driving to the far north end of the park near the main campground, the Bluff Trail is a short walk from the parking lot but offers some great views. Sadly, most of the trail was closed for maintenance and I had to turn back before getting started. Did catch a few photos from Signal Point, Point Lookout, and the unique rock doorway leading to Treasure Cave.
Sand Cave Trail
At the next parking area is the Sand Cave Trail trailhead. On this section there were two sandstone caves, and due to recent rains that filled nearby streams they were also waterfalls (small ones, but falls nevertheless). This was an excellent hike with fairly moderate/difficult slopes at times. Little Sand Cave was at the far end of the trail and looped back to connect at the Big Sand Cave spur trail. Little was worth it for the hike more than the cave/falls, and Big was better for the cave area. Would do this hike again mainly for the great semi-challenging trail which was a good workout.
Sugar Maple Nature Trail
Time was running out towards the end of the day. Like an idiot, I tried to push too hard and all the camping sites were booked up (three were available earlier that day but I am too ambitious sometimes). So instead, I looked at the map and picked one last trek before it was too late. This ended up being a section of the Sugar Maple Nature trail which led to Pictured Rock Cave that contained yet another small waterfall. Not sure if the photos can do justice to the size of the cave but for Wisconsin it was quite a spectacular find in the middle of the forest. Also featured were some native-American effigy mounds in various shapes and sizes (sorry no photos, they are difficult to make out on camera at ground level). Trails are downhill and easy going down, but the reverse trip gassed my legs since I’m out of hiking shape.
Video of the waterfall at Pictured Rock Cave:
To finish the day, I drove to the far south end of the park at Henneger Point to check the view. The road is extremely rough and choppy and needs re-paving, but the cave of surrounding trees blots out the sunlight and creates a very isolating and serene atmosphere. Once I reached the picnic area, I was rewarded with a great view directly overlooking a wide point of the Mississippi River.Lat = 42.9832382 , Long = -91.1114197 -- Show at Google Maps