Nelson Dewey State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Taking an RV Trip at Nelson Dewey State Park is what dreams are made of. Surrounded by dense woodland, epic hiking trails, and dramatic bluff views, Nelson Dewey State Park is a 756-acre, accessible year-round park, located 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 campers and RV holidaymakers alike.

Outdoor activities are encouraged at Nelson Dewey State Park. The park is open year-round, and guests can enjoy a wealth of entertainment in the fresh air, from exciting park programs to birds and wildlife sightings 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! Get ready for two miles of hiking trails to explore, each offering unique views including woodland and bluff-top panoramic views 500 feet above the Mississippi. In the winter months, day visitors can enjoy walking, skiing, or snowshoeing on these scenic trails.

After you spend time at Nelson Dewey State Park, why not check out the other points of interest on your drive home? White Pine Hollow State Forest is less than 20 miles away, and Turkey River Mounds State Monument is close to the park, too. Iowa's' Backbone State Park is less than two hours away, and it’s another state park worthy of an overnight stay.

RV Rentals in Nelson Dewey State Park

Transportation in Nelson Dewey State Park

Driving

You should not have any trouble finding the Nelson Dewey State Park. It is located along County Highway VV, off of State Highway WI-133 in Cassville, Wisconsin, across from the historic Stonefield Village. The park is approximately 105 miles southwest of Madison via US-151, 40 miles northwest of Dubuque, Iowa, and 110 miles northeast of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The campground is easy to navigate by car or RV because of its well-paved roads. Once you have parked and set up camp, you can get around the park on foot, or bicycle, on one of the many well-marked trails. You can also visit the park during the offseason. The main gate is closed, but you will be able to park at the entrance. In the winter, the parking lot at the entrance is plowed. Note that a vehicle admission sticker is required year-round.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Nelson Dewey State Park

Campsites in Nelson Dewey State Park

Reservations camping

Family Campground

The wooded campground at Nelson Dewey State Park offers 45 campsites for both tents and RVs. Eighteen sites have 30-amp electrical service, and 27 sites are for primitive camping. The RV sites accommodate vehicles up to 60 feet in length. 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. Generators are typically not permitted in Wisconsin State Parks for overnight guests. Dogs are allowed within the park but must be kept on a leash. Groceries, firewood, camping supplies, and a laundromat are available about two miles from the park. Firewood is also available for purchase with campground hosts in season. The campground operates seasonally, and campers can reserve campsites from May through Columbus Day weekend. After Columbus Day, the campground offers sites on a first-come, first-served basis until the end of the operating season when the park permits visitors for day-use only.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Group Camp

Are you searching for a place to camp with a small or large group? Look no further. There are three group sites available at Nelson Dewey State Park. Each group site accommodates up to 40 people and is equipped with 120 electrical hookups sites. Each site space offers a large camping area, picnic tables, and a wide fire pit. A shelter, vault toilets, showers, and water are also available in the group camp.

Seasonal activities in Nelson Dewey State Park

In-Season

Hiking

There are over two miles of hiking and nature trails meandering through Nelson Dewey State Park. They run through a variety of different terrains, such as the self-guided, 0.3-mile Woodbine Nature Trail, the 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 provides benches for visitors to take a break and watch the wildlife and birds on the Mississippi Flyway. The 0.2-mile Cedar Trail offers views of the river and Stonefield Village historic site. Hikers should use caution and steer away from cliffs as barricades or barriers do not protect them.

Park programs

Nelson Dewey State Park offers a host of activities that introduce and help children cultivate a taste for the great outdoors. Kids will love the programs that focus on animal tracks in the park, and these programs include arts and crafts like making your own animal track plaster prints. There are also mini-naturalist programs for young ones to learn all about the animals living in the park. Events are organized around star gazing, cross-country skiing, and other exciting themes, so even if you aren't a kid, there is fun for everyone at Nelson Dewey State Park.

Picnicking

Day visitors and campers alike can enjoy leisurely picnics around Nelson Dewey State Park, particularly during the enjoyable warmer summer months. There are three designated picnic areas within the park: Mound Point, Dewey Heights, and Cedar Point. These areas are equipped with picnic tables and fire pits for visitors to enjoy. There are also two picnic shelters available at the Dewey Heights picnic area. Bring your camera as you can enjoy your picnic 500-feet over the Mississippi River, which promises breathtaking, picture-worthy sightings.

Off-Season

Visiting the Sacred Burial Mounds

There are three sets of Native American burial mounds and two village sites within the boundaries of Nelson Dewey State Park. Visitors can explore these burial mounds and historic village sites, and piece together clues about the way of life and activities enjoyed by the people inhabiting the area 7,000 years ago. Three different types of burial mounds can be observed in the park: conical or dome-shaped mounds, linear or long mounds, and compound mounds. These sites are protected by the State of Wisconsin. Who would have thought that you could get so much when taking an RV trip at Nelson Dewey State Park?

Winter Recreation

During the offseason, the hiking trails transition from footpaths into trails for winter sports. People who like Nordic activities like cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing come to the area to experience the solitude of the park in a snowy wonderland. When the campgrounds are closed, the roads are not maintained, so visitors need to be aware that these activities are to be enjoyed at their own risk. Winter visitors can park outside of the park's 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. Hunting takes place in the park’s open areas during 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 areas. Gun and archery hunting, along with limited trapping, can be enjoyed between April and May. Supplies can be purchased about two miles away from the park. All visitors, including hunters, are required to purchase an admission sticker for their vehicles from the park office. Don’t forget that hunting licenses apply.

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