My last post was pretty darn exciting. I’m not sure it can be topped by this post or any other future posts, but I’ll give it a shot!
In case you missed the excitement, my recent post focused on a hike to the top of Brady’s Bluff at Perrot State park and, *gasp,* Jon and I getting engaged! Catch up HERE if you need the deets like yesterday.
After the engagement hike, Jon and I met up with his family in La Crosse for a night of celebration and fun. Waking up the next morning from a very exciting and somewhat long night, it was time to hike again.
Having everyone together near one of our favorite trails, it was a great opportunity to share something we love with the people we find kind of okay. Just kidding, we love them just as much as the trail. The plan for the hike was to return to the top of Brady’s bluff, hike down to the other bluff, and climb to the top of that one.
(A view of the railroad bridge from the park road.)
The weather on day two wasn’t much better than the previous day. While the first day was full of rain and wind, the second day was much cooler. Not the most ideal day for hiking, but being mid-October, you take what you can get in Wisconsin.
Brady’s Bluff East Trail:
Length: .7 miles
Positives: Views and more views. The views from this trail are hard to beat.
Negatives: Portions of the trail can feel a little dangerous and precarious. Loose rocks and a narrow trail running next to a drop off the side of the bluff can make this trail less than ideal for folks feeling not so surefooted.
Since I covered this trail extensively in the last post, I won’t go detail like to typically would. Besides, the pictures can speak for themselves.
Except for this photo. This one needs a little help explaining itself. I have a very similar picture on another previous Perrot State Park post on this blog. This dark hole always fascinates me. I know it’s just a very large puddle, a divot in the rock where water collects, but looking down from the trail it looks like a black hole you could fall in and keep falling and falling.
Now I will let the pictures speak for themselves…
The hike is challenging but the view and the photo ops at the top are well worth the effort.
Coming up Brady’s Bluff on the river side, we went down the north side on the way to the other bluff, Perrot Ridge.
Brady’s Bluff North Trail:
Length: 1.5 mile
Negatives: The trail is narrow and steep in sections with loose rocks and roots making it somewhat dangerous. Even with our somewhat athletic group there were a few slips and skids
The trail leads from the structure at the top of Brady’s Bluff, to the north side of the bluff and down. Once down the bluff, it continues towards the other bluff, Perrot Ridge.
While the previous trail curves and winds up the bluff, making it more of a gradual climb, this trail attacks the climb head on with a straight trail. Coming up the gradual side, we went down on the straight side. Going down, this was still a challenge. Covered in leaves, the trail had plenty of hidden loose rocks, larger sticks, and roots. We took it slow, which was a good choice.
While it doesn’t look like it on the map, this trail meets at an intersection with two other trails. (On the map it looks like the trails don’t intersect at all.) At the intersection, there are three choices.
1) Continue west on the same trail towards the park’s maintenance shop.
2) Turn right to go east on Wilber’s Trail.
3) Turn right and then right again to travel south and around the bluff on the Prairie Trail.
We went east to make for a longer hike.
Length: 2.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate, this trail is level for the majority of it but it does have a few fairly steep and large hills that make it a bit more challenging in sections
Positives: Wide, grassy trails offer something different from the narrow, rocky trails of the bluffs. This trail is groomed for skiing in the winter.
Negatives: No breathtaking views. Listing this as a negative is proof that this park will spoil you.
As I mentioned above, this trail is for skiing in the winter. I’m not a skier, but I have cross country skied once or twice before. From what I remember of the experience, these hills seem like they would be intense and sort of terrifying to me. Like I said, I’m not a skier, but maybe that is why the park lists this trail as an expert ski loop.
After climbing and climbing, this trail finally meets the trail that goes to the top of the other bluff. It might be tempting to skip the second bluff because you just climbed so much, but the views are worth the challenge.
Perrot Ridge Trail:
Length: 1 mile
Positives: Amazing views, you can see Brady’s Bluff from this bluff
Negatives: Dangerous at time, similar to the north bluff trail, this trail has a lot of loose rocks and roots. Unlike the other trail, there is a section of this trail where climbing up or down a few larger rocks is necessary.
If you look on the map, the trail passes along the bluff, giving hikers 2 access points from which to begin the climb to the top. The east access point, or the one on the right of the map, is the easier of the two options. On this side of the bluff, the trail remains more of a trail the entire way. It is still uphill and challenging, but at least this section doesn’t require climbing up or down a bunch of large rocks.
If you do want to climb some rocks, then choose the other access point, the trail on the west. This side is fun and different from the typical hiking on the rest of the trails. For people with short legs, like me, it can be pretty challenging at times. Going down, there was one section where I had to sit on the rock with my legs hanging over the side and lower myself down.
You always have the option to come up one way, turn around at the top, and go back down the same way.
See that peak on the other bluff overlooking the river? That was the location of the other top-of-the-bluff pictures. I love when trails give you a nice overlook to reflect on what you have accomplished and the distance you travelled.
This trail finishes by making it’s descent back down to the trailhead where the two bluff trails meet.
That ends the second installment of the third Perrot hike. While very challenging at times, the rewards are well worth the physical exertion and sweat. I think the same trail making an appearance for the third time on this blog is testament to that.