Wisconsin’s Merrick State Park — The Backwaters of the Mississippi and Surrounding Bluffs

Near the end of the camping season, I had the chance to explore a park that was brand new to me. Located on the backwaters of the Mississippi River just north of Wynona, Minnesota, this park always fell off my radar because of it’s proximity to one of my all time favorite Wisconsin parks, Perrot. Like Perrot, this park is full of natural bluffs and adventurers exploring the mighty river.

Links to Follow Along:
Park Main Page
Park Map

With only two miles of trail, it’s not a destination park for hiking but does offer numerous scenic points to view the bluffs. If you love the water, boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, etc., then this park is for you. I’ll cover this later in my campground review post, but this park has numerous sites directly on the water. That makes it very unique.

More on that later. Let’s hike!

Further proving that this park isn’t necessarily showcasing it’s hiking, I will point out that the trails are not named. We started with the more scenic trail on the eastern side of the park.

Eastern Overlook Trail (as I’m calling it)

Length: 1/2 mile-ish (my own estimate)
Difficulty: Easy
Description: This nature trail loops as it passes by informational signs on it’s way to two scenic observation decks

This trail is the one with the two binoculars. It starts on a linear trail before splitting into the loop.

The linear portion of the trail, and the rest of it really, is wide, flat, and pleasant.

Both of the overlooks on this trail can be found down a flight of stairs. At the bottom of the stairs is a deck area that offers gorgeous views of the bluff and surrounding slough.

After enjoying these views, we climbed back up the stairs and looped to the second overlook. This one again is down a flight of stairs.

At the bottom of the stairs is another deck area with gorgeous views of a different bluff.

After climbing back up the stairs, we finished the loop and made it back to the car. We opted to drive between trails as they are on opposite sides of the park.

Western Train Track Trail (as I’m calling it)

Length: 3/4 of a mile-ish
Difficulty: Easy
Description: This easy trail loops through a meadow and forest

We parked in the lot outside of the North Campground and hopped on the trail just inside the campground.

The trail was a little confusing to find. It began halfway down a boardwalk that leads to a little beach area.

Honesty, I didn’t take too many pictures on this trail because there wasn’t much to capture. It was an easy and wide trail. At one point it looped near a railroad track and we heard and saw a train up-close. This rail line is very active and trains can be heard throughout the day and night (which I personally love, falling asleep to the sound of distant trains.)

Ending with a view from the small beach area at the end of the boardwalk.

While this park isn’t a “must do” for Wisconsin hiking, it certainly is a unique and interesting park. It’s not as large as other parks but offers an abundance of scenic views and areas to access the water. If you love fishing and camping, you can’t beat being able to combine the two and fish from your own personal shore at your campsite.

I’m exciting to talk about the camping at this park as it really is unique. Until next time!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: