Now to continue the saga of the mini honeymoon (mini-moon.) In case you missed day 1, we began the trip with some hiking at Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area. Checkout that post here. From Hoffman Hills, we drove to Lake Wissota State Park where we spent the rest of day 1 and all of day 2.
Lake Wissota State Park, outside of Chippewa Falls, sits on the 6,300 acre Lake Wissota. While the lake is the main feature of the park with fishing, boating, and swimming, the park also offers hiking through both woods and prairie.
As someone who was born in Chippewa Falls and still has family in the area, it’s kind of strange that I’ve never been to this park before. I was immediately impressed by how nice the entrance/ranger station was. The park seemed well maintained all around.
Prairie Wildflower Trail
Distance: .5 mile loop
Description: This easy loop takes hikers through an open prairie. Check out the sign near the beginning to learn what wildflowers you can see along the way.
As the name suggests, this trail is all about the prairie and the wildflowers. While the trail itself is wide, flat, and easy, the sun might be the biggest challenging factor on some days as there is no shade along the way. I’m glad we did this one in the morning.
You might get lucky and see more than wildflowers along the trail. We saw this deer running through the grass towards the campground. This would be the first of many deer we saw in the park and on the trip in general.
Being a short loop, this trail didn’t take us very long to complete. This was good, as we had a game to watch at 11am.
After the trail, we took a break to watch the USWNT beat Chile 3-0. Is there anything better than a spicy bloody, some fried pickles, and watching your team dominate while at a lake side restaurant? (The Edge was great. I would totally go back.)
Beaver Meadow Trail
Distance: 1 mile loop
Difficulty: Easy – with one steep-ish descent and one steep-ish ascent at the beginning and end
Description: This loop takes hikers past several features along the trail with information along the way.
I think the scenic Lake Trail might be the park’s biggest attraction for hiking, but make sure to check this one out too. This was just a fun, informative trail. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this trail takes you through the environment of a beaver. While the beavers have since left the dam, I could almost feel them there with us still.
This type of trail was refreshing after hiking wider, more open ones all day.
The dam itself has since been replaced by a walking bridge which allows you to look at the water that would have been on both sides of the dam.
The other big draw for me? The fern garden.
Ferns for daaaaayyyys.
We saw a deer on this trail too, but she was too far away for a good photo.
Distance: 1.4 miles linear
Description: This flat trail follows the lake shore from the beach to the overlook with stunning views along the way.
A good reminder why you should always stay on the designated trail.
Full disclosure, we didn’t hike the entire length of this trail. It started to get late and we underestimated the time it would take us to complete it. We ended up doing some trail running in hiking boots. But if you have the time, and plan it better, the views are worth it.
An excellent view of the lake with the sun setting just off frame.
This park also has a self-guided nature center, which was fun to check out.
Overall this was a great park with a lot to do besides water focused activities. I would definitely stop or stay the night here again.
After staying two nights at Lake Wissota, we drove the short distance to another local park, Brunet Island.