The Prairie du Chien area includes an abundance of unique parks offering something delightful for almost any outdoor enthusiast during all four seasons. Scenic overlooks of the Mississippi River, birding, hiking trail, historic information and more can be found at many of these parks.
Effigy Mounds National Monument
Three miles N of Marquette, IA off Highway 76, Harpers Ferry, IA
The monument is open year-round. It was established to preserve outstanding examples of a prehistoric American Indian mound building culture that regularly constructed mounds in the shape of mammals, birds, or reptiles. The monument contains 2,526 acres with 206 mounds, of which 31 are effigies. The visitor center contains museum exhibits, a video presentation, and book sales outlet. Visitors may look at the mounds, spectacular views from bluffs along the Mississippi River, and experience more than 100 acres of prairie by walking along 14 miles of hiking trails. Three conical mounds are accessible to disabled visitors via a boardwalk trail. In the summer months ranger-led programs are available. Special summer and evening hikes-call the park after June 1 for specific information. Admission is free. A winter film festival is held January through March with films shown every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
La Riviere Park
62036 Vineyard Coulee Road, southeast of Prairie du Chien, WI
A 300 acre city park managed for its natural beauty and wildlife. The park is a mix of hardwood forest, grasslands, and native prairie. Provides 6 miles of hiking trails, nature viewing, bird watching, cross-country skiing, horse trails with links to other trails, archery area, picnic area, shelter house, and primitive or horse camping. Water and electrical hookups available in horse camp on first come first serve basis. No reservations taken.
A 25-acre, wooded, city park atop a majestic bluff overlooking the Mississippi River at Lansing, Iowa. Spectacular views of the river and its backwaters, as well as vistas of three states seen from two overlooks. The Lansing bridge, 30 miles north of the Marquette-Jolliet Bridge in Prairie du Chien, is the northern gateway to Crawford County.
Nelson Dewey State Park
Located across from Stonefield Village in Cassville, WI
Park Info (608) 725-5374, Camping Reservations (888) 947-2757
Part of the original estate of Wisconsin's first governor, Nelson Dewey. Features a panoramic overlook of the Mississippi River. Indian mounds, camping, hiking, picnicking, playground, bird and wildlife observation area. Weekend and holiday tours of the home and grounds. Admission charged.
Pikes Peak State Park
One of Iowa's most beautiful state parks. Popular recently constructed scenic overlook. A favorite spot of photographers to take majestic photos of two great rivers in any season or weather. Also contains campsites, picnic grounds, waterfall, and hiking and nature trails. Named for Lt. Zebulon Pike, army surveyor of the Mississippi River in 1805, who suggested a fort be built on this site.
"Upper Miss" Refuge
McGregor District Office located along Business Hwy 18 between Marquette and McGregor, IA
The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge provides many opportunities to hunt, fish, camp, watch wildlife or enjoy a relaxing afternoon. Highlights in the Prairie du Chien area include the Sturgeon Slough Hiking Trail, accessed from the rest stop located on Highway 18 between Prairie du Chien and Marquette. Displays and information at the District Office. http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Upper_Mississippi_River
Yellow River State Forest
North of Marquette, IA, off Hwy 76
One of the nation's most picturesque regions, with 5,800 acres of timbered hills and valleys. Has 25 miles of hiking trails, 13 miles of equestrian trails, plus many miles of snowmobile and cross-country ski trails. Stocked trout streams and marsh areas. Picnic and camping areas. Open for hunting and fishing. Open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. No admission charged. Groups welcome.
Wyalusing State Park
10 miles south of Prairie du Chien, WI
Features views of the historic junction of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers where the first Europeans, Marquette and Jolliet, landed in 1673. Has 110 family campsites, group camping facilities, picnic facilities, 22 miles of hiking and nature trails, and a year round naturalist. Naturalist programs held throughout the year. Astronomy education programs held the second and fourth Saturdays, weather and moon phase permitting, contact the park for details. Admission charged.