This is the latest stop in the series 101 Things To Do. Each week through December 2020, we will select one place or activity around the region to highlight.
With a lake, a beach, a river, a number of hiking/skiing trails, and an interpretive center, Wisconsin Interstate State Park, the oldest state park in Wisconsin, offers something for every visitor.
One of the most popular spots is the beach at Lake O’ the Dalles in the center of the park.
“We just renovated that beach,” said Kurt Dreger, park superintendent. “There was a 3-foot wood retaining wall that was deteriorating. We moved the sand back about ten feet so there is more space for kids to play. We changed the slope down so that people could want down instead of having to go off the retaining wall.”
The park touches the St. Croix River, so several short hiking trails wind through the bluffs and give views of the Dalles of the St. Croix, a series of cliffs overlooking the river.
“The river is full of canoes and kayaks,” Dreger said. “We have two outfitters that work through the park and use our launch to go on the river.”
The park has two campgrounds with sites for tent and RV camping. The north campground has showers and flush toilets. The south campground is more primitive and generators are not allowed there.
“I would suggest that anyone who wants to camp should make reservations,” Dreger said.
The Ice Age Interpretive Center, just inside the park entrance, has murals, displays, and videos that explain how the last ice age affected the terrain of the park and northern Wisconsin. Dreger noted, “We have an educator on staff who runs programs throughout the week.”
During the winter, the park packs the snow on several trails for walking and snowshoeing. They groom one trail for cross country skiing only.
Dreger hopes that visitors to the park “have a good outdoor experience,” he said. “We want them to get out and enjoy the hiking and the bluffs. Hopefully it is a total experience for them with not only education, but recreation, and a place to cool off.”
If you go...
Name: Wisconsin Interstate State Park
Address: 1275 State Highway 35, St. Croix Falls, Wis.
Cost: Daily $8 with Wis. plates, $11 with out-of-state places. Annual $28 with Wis. plates, $38 with out-of-state plates. National Parks passports are accepted.