Sometimes in this crazy life it is nice to just get away from the buzz of businesses and city noise and retreat into nature. I make a habit of taking vacations that incorporate outdoor activities into my schedule, because these activities help me reset and decompress. If you like camping, there are a ton of great places to choose from. I tend to enjoy state parks more than your packed in party campgrounds, because they give you more seclusion, less noise, and more nature.
This past weekend my family took a trip to Willow River State Park, which is located in Hudson, WI. This particular park, while the campsites are closer together, gives a feeling of privacy, because of all the the great foliage surrounding each site. Our campsite was surrounded by trees, had a fire pit and picnic table, and was still near a bathroom. We heard little disruption from our neighbors and it felt almost like we were alone at times. The site was not huge, we just barely got our bean bag toss setup in the space provided. Everything worked out fine.
This particular park offers hiking trails, a beach, a nature center, a beautiful waterfall, playgrounds, and activities at certain times for the family and children. Unfortunately, while we visitied, the lake had been drawn down, so the beach was not availble for use. If the lake had been active, the park would have offered kayak and canoe rentals as well.
We took a hike to the waterfall and it was completely worth it. You can actually swim at the base of the falls, but it’s definitely at your own risk. There are lots of great photo opportunities from the bridge as you approach the falls, as well as at the base and top. If you are feeling energetic, you can hike up the stairs to the platform that overlooks the falls for another great view.
If you want to continue hiking beyond the falls, there are other interesting sites and overlooks, including old grave sites and pieces of machinery. I did check out a few of the other outlooks and sites, but I feel that the waterfall is probably the most interesting view. Some of the overlooks are a little overgrown with trees, so you cannot really see much.
Overall, this is one of my favorite campgrounds in Wisconsin. I have been visiting Willow River for many years, even just to hike the falls. I will continue to come back to this campground in the years to come.
For more information on Willow River State Park, please visit: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/willowriver/