The plants are budding, the insects are buzzing, and the birds are driving my cats nuts on the other side of the window. It must be spring! Which means, it’s hiking and camping season again!
The 2019 season kicked off with a trip to a state park from my to-do list, Buckhorn State Park.
Located outside of Necedah on the Wisconsin River and Castle Rock Lake, Buckhorn is a haven for fisher-women and water sport enthusiasts alike. Unfortunately, all that water comes with a price. If you plan a trip to Buckhorn, timing is everything. You’ll thank yourself later if you plan your trip early or late in the season, when the nights get cold. The park office has a mosquito meter warning visitors of the current level. Sure, mosquitoes are a part of the outdoor experience, but this is next level. I’ve heard stories of unbearable swarms of bugs scaring campers away 20 minutes after they arrive. *shutter*
In addition to the mosquito breeding water attractions, Buckhorn offers hiking and a variety of campsites. We camped at a secluded walk-in site on the river, but more on that later. Buckhorn has 8+ miles of trail through a variety of terrain. The trails we hiked were wide, flat, and easy.
Distance: .4 miles linear
Description: A short connecting trail bringing hikers from the parking lot to the kid’s fishing pond.
Starting in the parking lot across the street from the main park entrance, the short Turtle Trail provides access to the kids fishing pond and three other trails.
The kid’s fishing pond is stocked with fish by the Friends of Buckhorn. The sign near the pond tell kids more about the fish found there. No equipment? No problem! Check out the loaner program to borrow some for free from the park office. It’s the perfect way to see if your child enjoys fishing.
Glacial Lake Trail
Distance: 1 mile linear
Description: This trail connects the two parking lots with trail loops in between.
This trail is another wide, flat trail, making for an easy and enjoyable walk.
Off the trail is a large sand blow that looks out of place in Wisconsin.
Distance: 1.3 mile loop
Description: Following an old logging route through the forest, this trail is an easy, pleasant loop.
Barrens Nature Trail
Distance: 1.5 mile loop
Description: An easy loop trail with informational signs on the surrounding barrens and restoration efforts. A 20-foot high observation tower sits on a paved portion of the trail.
The paved portion of the trail leads from the parking lot to the observation tower.
The observation tower has two levels, one with a ramp and one with stairs. Cloud must have read the sign that dogs aren’t allowed on the upper level.
A nice view from the observation tower of an area under restoration.
Overall the hiking at Buckhorn is flat, easy, and pleasant with a few unique features. For a park known more for it’s water sports than it’s hiking, it’s not half bad.