Bluff Trail and Mississippi Ridge Trail

March is here! Can spring be far behind? It's time to start planning.

The next series of blogs will be about the14.2 miles of land trails of Wyalusing State Park. Wyalusing State Park is blessed with hiking trails that traverse some of the most beautiful scenery in Wisconsin. Trails offer a variety of terrain ranging from easy, moderate slopes to steep climbs with steps.

Bluff Trail 

Bluff Trail
Bluff Trail - Council point(4) to Treasure Cave (6) along the bluff to East end of Wisconsin Ridge Campground

The majority of the Bluff Trail has been closed since the park experienced heavy rains in 2007. The ground was completely saturated due to days of heavy rain and then, the park received eight inches of rain in two hours, this caused extensive trail damage throughout the park. Due to the damage, only a short section of Bluff Trail going to Treasure Cave has remained open. In 2016 sections of the trail were rehabilitated by installing new steps, railings and walk bridges. In the spring/early summer of 2017, the remaining section of the trail will be fixed with hopes that the trail will open
in the summer of 2017. 
Following is an unofficial trail description.

Trail Rating Guide:
* 1=walking on a level paved road.
* 10=Walking on an unmarked trail up a bluff, covered with leaves, poison ivy, tree roots and boulders the size of a house.

Distance: 0.2 miles on top of bluff. From Treasure Cave to East end 0.7 miles (No loop)
Time: 15-30 minutes from Point Lookout to Council Point. Side trail to Treasure Cave - 15-20 minutes
Difficulty: 2.0-3 from Point Lookout to Council Point (stairs). 3.5-5.5 Side trail to Treasure Cave (Stone Steps and ladder)
Bathrooms: Point Lookout Shelter, or near playground.
Parking: Point Lookout Picnic Area
Description:
Council Point
The pathway along Wisconsin Ridge, from Council Point to Point Lookout is blacktop. A wooden railing separates the trail from the edge of the bluff. Erratically spaced stone steps (5-6 steps)are encountered along the way.

Steps to "The Keyhole"
A stone stairway is used to reach Treasure cave. There are about 30-40 steps. The stepping stones were quarried in the park and laid by hand many, many years ago. Thousands of feet have walked on these steps. The erratically spaced steps make it next to impossible for baby strollers to negotiate the steps.

Steep wooden steps are used to get to Treasure Cave. A railing is provided for these steps.

Paul Kosir's book, Wyalusing History, the Park, the People, the Land, has interesting stories about Treasure Cave.

The Guardian Waits
Special Note: Just before passing through "The Keyhole" look for a fence post longer than the others. The post is closest to "The Keyhole". While standing next to the fence post look along the edge of the bluff forming "The Keyhole". A stone face profile will begin to take form. The nose is easily seen. Looking up, find the eye brow and forehead. The lips and chin are a little difficult to make out. Did you see it? Some say that this is the guardian of Treasure Cave. As long as the guardian shows its face, the treasure is safe. Of course, that's just a story......or is it?

Mississippi Ridge Trail -
Mississippi Ridge Trail starts at Homestead Picnic Shelter, crosses Cathedral Tree Drive and runs parallel to it until Henneger Point Picnic Area. The trail follows the bluff along the Mississippi River. An excellent view of the Mississippi River is available from Henneger Point. Bicyclists are welcome to bike the return trip back to Homestead Picnic Area via Cathedral Tree Drive (1.8 miles).
*Previous description from: Wyalusing State Park Visitor Newspaper, 2010
Unofficial Topo Map
Following is an unofficial trail description.
 Distance: 3.4 mile loop
Time: 2-3 hours (by foot)
Difficulty: 2-3
Bathrooms: Homestead Picnic Shelter and Henneger Point.
Parking: Park in the indoor group camp or the lot west of the Homestead Picnic area.

Description:
Mississippi Ridge Trail is a combination trail: hiking, biking, and xc-skiing. At this time, however, it is mostly used for walking and biking.

The trail head is located just west of the entrance to the indoor group camp to Hennegar Point

The first segment of the trail parallels the top of the ridge above the Mississippi River. This segment is 1.8 miles. A few spots have exposed tree roots. There are also a few spots with small rocks. This trail segment is characterized by a few gradual slopes.

The return segment follows Cathedral Tree Drive. The road is blacktopped and bumpy. Mature hardwood trees form a cathedral like cover. A few moderate hills are located in the southern part of Cathedral Tree Drive. Although this is not one of Wyalusing State Park's main roads, keep an eye out for cars.

Henneger Point
The southern most tip of the trail is Henneger Point. Henneger Point has a small stone picnic shelter. A large metal charcoal grill is located close-by. There are picnic tables and benches. This is a wonderful, quiet spot. The ridge overlooks the Mississippi River. Very few mosquitoes.

Spook Hill Mound Group
The northern part of Cathedral Tree Drive has many Indian Mounds. This area is called Spook Hill. Interpretive signs inform the visitor about the importance of the area. Paul Kosir, the author of Wyalusing History: The Park, the People, the Land, describes Spook Hill.

If arriving at Hennegar point by car, visit the old stone and wood fence located on a mowed grass path north of the shelter and 300 feet.