Nelson Dewey State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Surrounded by dense woodland, epic hiking trails and dramatic bluff views, Nelson Dewey State Park is a 756-acre year-round park on the edge of the Mississippi River in Cassville, Wisconsin. Once the Stonefield estate of Nelson Dewey, the state's first governor, the park now offers fantastic individual or group-style camping for standard campers and RV holidaymakers alike.

Outdoor activities are encouraged at Nelson Dewey State Park. Open all year round, guests can enjoy a wealth of entertainment in the fresh air, from exciting park programs to bird and wildlife watching in the Dewey Heights Prairie. This geologically unique area has been declared a State Natural Area to protect the fascinating species of plants, animals and birds that live here - so bring your binoculars!

There are also three miles of hiking trails to explore, offering their own unique views from woodland, to bluff-top views 500 feet above the Mississippi. In the winter months, day visitors can walk or ski into the park and enjoy snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on these scenic trails.

RV Rentals in Nelson Dewey State Park

Transportation in Nelson Dewey State Park

Driving

You shouldn’t have any trouble finding Nelson Dewey State Park. It’s located along County Highway VV off State Highway 33 in Cassville, opposite the historic Stonefield Village. The campground is easy to navigate by car or RV with well-paved roads. Once you’ve parked your big rig and set up camp, you can get around the park by foot or bicycle with many well-marked trails to choose from. You can also visit the park during the off season; the gates will be closed so you'll have to park outside and walk or ski inside.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Nelson Dewey State Park

Campsites in Nelson Dewey State Park

Reservations camping

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Group Camp

There are three group sites available at Nelson Dewey State Park. Each group site accommodates up to 40 people each and has an electric hookup (120 in total). Each site has a large camping space, picnic tables and a large fire pit. A shelter, vault toilets and water are also available in the group camp.

Family Campground

The wooded campground at Nelson Dewey State Park offers 45 campsites, 18 of which are electric, for tents and RVs (for vehicles up to 60 feet) as well as four backpacking sites located up on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River that are walk-in only. They offer a choice of electric-only, and no hookup options. Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire pit. Campers have access to drinking water, restrooms with hot showers and vault toilets, as well as a dump station and trash and recycling center. There are also four backpacking sites located up on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. These sites are walk-in campsites only and have vault toilets. There are also two reservable picnic shelters in the park.

The park is open all year round. While the campsite is closed during the off season, day visitors can park outside of the park and walk inside. Campers can reserve campsites from May through to the Columbus Day weekend, after which they are available on a first come, first served basis.

Please note that generators are typically not permitted in Wisconsin State Parks for overnight guests, while day visitors can use a generator in areas that the property manager deems will not disrupt other guests. The campsite also has quiet hours at night. Dogs are allowed within the park but must be kept on a leash.

Seasonal activities in Nelson Dewey State Park

In-Season

Picnicking

Day visitors and campers alike can enjoy leisurely picnics in Nelson Dewey State Park, particularly enjoyable during the warmer summer months. There are three designated picnic areas within the park, including Mound Point, Dewey Heights, and Cedar Point. These areas all have picnic tables and fire pits for visitors to enjoy. There are also two picnic shelters available at the Dewey Heights picnic area.

Park programs

Nelson Dewey State Park hosts a range of events for all ages. Kids will love the programs that focus on animal tracks in the park and include arts and crafts such as making your own animal track plaster. There are also mini naturalist programs for kids to learn all about the animals in the park. Other events are organized around star gazing, cross-country skiing, and other exciting themes.

Hiking

There are three miles of hiking and nature trails meandering through Nelson Dewey State Park. They run through a variety of different terrain, such as the self-guided 0.3-mile Woodbine Nature Trail and 0.4-mile Oakwood Trail through the woods, or the 0.2-mile Prairie Trail along the edge of the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Alternatively, the 0.6-mile Mound Point Trail travels close to the burial mounds and has benches for visitors to take a break and watch the wildlife and birds on the Mississippi Flyway. There is also the 0.2-mile Cedar Trail with views of the river and Stonefield Village historic site.

Off-Season

Visit the Sacred Burial Mounds

There are three groups of Native American burial mounds and two village sites within the boundaries of Nelson Dewey State Park. Visitors can explore these burial mounds and village sites and piece together clues about their way of life and the activities they enjoyed in the area 7,000 years ago. There are three different types of burial mounds to see in the park, such as conical or dome-shaped mounds, linear or long mounds, and compound mounds. These sites are protected by the State of Wisconsin.

Snow sports

The hiking trails are often used for various winter sports, such as cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing during the winter months. The roads are not maintained so visitors need to be aware that these activities are enjoyed at their own risk. While the campsite is closed during the off season, day visitors can park outside of the park entrance and either walk or ski into the park.

Hunting

Nelson Dewey State Park is a popular spot for gun and archery hunting and trapping. This takes place in the park's open areas between the off season months of November and December each year. Hunting is not allowed in specific areas near hiking trails or within 100 yards of any designated use area. During the spring, gun and archery hunting and limited trapping can be enjoyed between April and May. All visitors, including hunters, are required to purchase an admission sticker for their vehicles from the park office.

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