The Knob Shelter

Located end of Wisconsin Ridge camp ground overlooking Wisconsin River.

Point Lookout Shelter

Scenic shelter at Lookout Point

Peterson Shelter

Located at Wisconsin Ridge

Green Cloud Picnic Shelter

Located near Passenger Pigeon monument.

Homestead Picnic Shelter

Located near Homestead Camgound.

Hennegar Point Shelterr

Located at farthest southern point of park.

Wyalusing State Park Water Trail

Wyalusing State Park Water Trail
Glide across Glenn Lake, into narrow backwater streams connecting the Woodyard Slough, and onto the open waters of the Mississippi River. The canoe/kayak water trail offers a unique way to see the waterfowl, aquatic plants, an diverse animal life of the river bottom lands.

The canoe/kayak water trail is a loop of a little less than six miles. It begins and ends at the Wyalusing State Park boat landing. Taking the entire loop does require some paddling effort. Wear a life jacket (Personal Flotation Device) at all times.

The water trail is marked with signs posted on the shore or trees at every major.

In most cases, look for blue and white trail signs. There are a few brown and white signs along the way. There are no signs at the end of sloughs leading back to the canoe trail.

The first half of the trip is 'upstream' from the boat landing through Glenn Lake into Woodyard Slough. The current is generally slow with a few exceptions in narrow parts of the stream.

At several points along the water trail, logs and branches may appear to block the trail. There should be a small opening. Wyalusing State Park staff maintains the trail with openings just wide enough for canoes and kayaks to pass through, but too small for motorized pleasure craft. Should a tree be completely blocking the trail, please mark the spot on the paper map and inform the park staff at the office.

The second half of the canoe trip, from the entrance to the Mississippi River and back to the boat landing, may prove the most stressful for the novice. Staying close to the east shore of the Mississippi River is strongly advised. Wakes from pleasure boats as well as barges can not be avoided. Turning into the waves before they reach the canoe/kayak is advisable. Barges tend to make the largest wakes. However, a few pleasure craft can produce surprisingly large wakes as well.

A Mississippi river daymarker used for barge traffic navigation. Colors may be red and white, also.

Watch for first 'daymarker' on the east side of the river bank. About three tenths of a mile, turn left to go back to the boat landing. Incidently, if you see a second daymarker you have gone too far!!!

Once again, the canoer/kayaker will have to be on the lookout for pleasure craft wakes. This is a narrow water way. The wave reaches the canoe/kayak faster than in the Mississippi River. The paddler will have to paddle upstream.

The trip usually takes three to three and one-half hours. Take your time and enjoy the sites.

Water Trail map. View numbered sections below.

Click to Enlarge

Water Trail map. View numbered sections below.
Map Key:
All Maps (All Sections)

Images will open in separate page. Most images can be enlarged for viewing.
Section 1 Boat landing through Glenn Lake to Water Trail Entrance. (Section 1)
Section 2 Glenn Lake to Woodyard Slough (Section 2)
Section 3 Woodyard Slough to Mississippi River (Section 3)
Section 4 Mississippi River (Section 4)
Section 5 Mississippi River. Watch for Daymarker. (Section 5)
Section 6 From Mississippi River towards boat landing (Section 6)
Section 7 Along Tracks to Boat landing (Section 7)

Future Blog Topics:
Guided Water Trail with Bruce Klang
Flora and Fauna - The Water Trail.

Harv Peterson Shelter Renovations Being Completed After 76 Years

photo 2The steps, located on the southwest corner of the Peterson Shelter, are being re-leveled. The Harv Peterson Shelter, was originally started by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the later part of the 1930’s. At that time, just the masonry work was completed. In 1937, the  men of Camp Nelson Dewey were dismissed. The shelter remained unfinished.

In the spring of 1938, WPA workers arrived at Nelson Dewey State Park (Wyalusing State Park). The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was the largest and most ambitious of Roosevelt’s New Deal.  The first task for the WPA was to complete the roof of the Peterson Shelter.

Today, some 75 years later, local masons are putting the final touches on the renovation of the Peterson Shelter. A few new stones are being added for the steps. The stones are quarried from the same stone quarry used by the CCC.  Prior to 2014, new electrical service was installed, partially paid for by the Friends of Wyalusing. The building was acid photo 3washed, re-tuck pointed, fireplaces repaired, the west stone floor was re-leveled, and eve troughs and down spouts were added.

Harvard Peterson was a Civilian Conservation Corps Engineer in charge of building the “Combination Building”. He was also the park’s second superintendent.  (Right-Stepping stones  laid out.)

Weave Your Own Basket

Adults and children visiting  Wyalusing State Park, Bagley, WI, on Saturday, July 19, 2014, are invited to attend a basket weaving program.  Each person will be able to create their very own small reed basket. The evening program, starting at 7:00PM, is sponsored by The Friends of Wyalusing State Park.

Effigy Mounds National Monument Ranger, Mary Techau, will lead the basket weaving program in the Peterson Shelter.  Materials will be provided by Ranger Techau. Basket weaving materials can be purchased for a nominal fee.

A State Park Vehicle admission is required.

Many other programs have been planned for park visitors.

Facebook users are encouraged to "like" the Friends of Wyalusing State Park.

Smokey’s Birthday Party

August 9th, 6:00pm

Decorated peddled vehicles and visitor parade around Wisconsin Ridge Campground 6:00pm. Party continues with games, birthday cake and cookies. Special treat – meet and greet Smokey Bear.

Wyalusing Spirits of the Past

Last Saturday in September.  Pumpkin carving starting at 3PM. Spirits start in Peterson Shelter at 7:00PM

Water Trail Most Likely to Reopen Midweek July 17, 2014

mcgi4_hgIF the rain continues to hold off “Up North” and IF the Wyalusing State Park Staff can get out onto the water trail for sign repair and removal of downed trees and IF the canoes/kayaks can be cleaned up in time, there is a possibility that the canoes/kayaks will be available for rental at  the Friends of Wyalusing State Park Concession Stand. (Click on image to increase size.)

Park visitors can use personal watercraft at any time.

The concession stand has four(4) single person kayaks and 18 canoes available for rental. Visitors wishing to rent canoes/kayaks must stop at the concession stand located at the top of Wisconsin Ridge Campground to complete a rental agreement and receive equipment. Included with each canoe rental are Personal Flotation Devices for each occupant and two canoe paddles and a map.

Visitors drive to the boat landing. All of the gear must be returned to the concession stand in good, preferably dry,  condition.

It is recommended that no more than three adults occupy a canoe, one adult each on seats in the front and back, and one adult seated on the bottom of the canoe.  If children accompany the adults, it is recommended that the canoe contain no more than two adults and two children. The children will sit on the floor of the canoe. Personal flotation devices must be worn at all times by everyone in the canoe/kayak.

All rented watercraft must stay on the marked canoe trail. It will be easier for park staff to begin a search if a problem arises.

Additional information can be found at, click on Trail Info.

Call the visitor office for additional information: 608-996-2261

121,000 cubic feet per second.

The Mississippi River, by the middle of next week is due to reach flood stage at McGregor, IA. McGregor is just across the river from Wyalusing State park. Flood stage is 16.1 feet as measured by the USCG River Gauge at McGregor. At that point, water will flow past the gauge at 121,000 cubic feet per second.

How much water actually flows down the Mississippi River each second? When the Mississippi River is flowing normally (without extra flood waters) it moves 1.6 million gallons of water every second.

It's difficult to imagine how much water this is. But here's an experiment you can do in your own home to see how much water flows down the Mississippi River each second.

Turn on the faucets in your shower very slowly. Now turn up the water slowly until you get to the point where the water is flowing at 50,000 gallons per second.

(For safety sake, it's best to open the front door of your house at this point. After all, the Mississippi River needs someplace to go or else it will fill up your living room in no time at all.)

Then after you've had a chance to watch this slow flow of water, turn the faucets up all the way until you get 1.6 million gallons per second coming out of your shower.

(Stand back a bit before turning the faucets up all the way. You don't want to be accidentally swept away by the Mississippi River.)

When you've seen enough of the Mississippi River flowing out of your shower you can turn off the faucets and mop up any spilled water with towels as large as a football field. Be careful to wring out the towels over a sink, or otherwise you could have a new Great Lake in your living room.

So that's how you can imagine how much water flows down the Mississippi River each second.

Phil Shapiro

Copyright 1998

(This essay may be freely redistributed and reprinted for any nonprofit educational purpose. Use by a for-profit company requires permission from the author, who can be reached at:



So much water and so little canoeing

Wyalusing State Park has been blessed by copious rain amounts during the past several weeks. During that time, water surrounded the canoe racks which made it impossible for easy access. In addition, there were a few trees over the marked water trail. Park staff have since visited the trail and report that trees are still down on the trail. However, the good news is that The Friends of Wyalusing have been given the go ahead to begin to rent canoes and kayaks.

Water craft renters are welcome to paddle anywhere north of the boat landing. But, are warned to stay off of the main channel of the Mississippi River.

The high water will present unique paddling experience. Paddlers will be able to weave in and out among the trees. Paddlers will also be able to access areas which are impossible to reach during low or normal water levels. The quiet paddler may even spot eagles resting among the trees.

Canoes and kayaks can be rented at the concession stand located in Wyalusing State Park. Two paddles and life jackets are provided for each canoe or kayak. Each canoe can hold up to three adults or two adults with two small children. Passengers will be sitting on the floor of the canoes. All passengers must wear life jackets at all times.

The concession stand has hourly rates as well as daily rates. It is suggested that a two hour rental might be just the right amount of time. However, you are welcome to rent canoes for more or less time. All rental fees are non-refundable. A late charge of $5 per every 15 minutes over the return time will be assessed. All canoes are available on a first come first served basis. No reservations.

With the recent rains, we may have to cancel canoe rentals. It all depends if the canoe racks are surrounded by water. Please check on Facebook for the Friends of Wyalusing for the latest information.