Pattison State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Pattison was established as a state park in 1920, but today is a place of natural beauty where RVers from around the world can come for relaxation, fun, and learning. Pattison State Park is a 1,436-acre state park south of Superior, Wisconsin. The park is located along the Black River and features both the highest waterfall in Wisconsin, Big Manitou Falls which is 165 feet tall, as well as the smallest, Little Manutou Falls, which is only 31 feet. The park is also a great spot for geology enthusiasts, with dark igneous rock scattered throughout the park, showing the path of ancient lava flows in the area billions of years ago. Another geologic point of interest is the Douglas Fault that runs through the park and can be seen downstream of Big Manitou Falls and copper mines.

The area also has a rich cultural history, dating all the way back to the times of Native Americans, whose artifacts have been found scattered throughout the park. The cultural history of the area grew more complex as Europeans colonized the area and set up larger scale mining operations. Of course, the park is also home to an abundance of wildlife, drawing in nature lovers from all over. All of its natural and cultural heritage makes Pattison State Park an excellent destination for an RV vacation any time of year.

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Transportation in Pattison State Park

Driving

Pattison State Park is just south of Duluth and can be found using any GPS enabled device. It is actually a breeze to get to using WI-35 N, which leads directly into the park. The roads within the park are fairly easy to navigate, although all vehicles must have a vehicle admissions sticker to be allowed in the state park and there is a limit of two vehicles per campsite. If you have a recreational vehicle and are towing an additional vehicle you will need to get a sticker for the towed vehicle. It should also be noted that several of the roads are quite narrow and the ones within the campground are all one-way roads. On one hand, this means you get the whole road to yourself, on the other hand, it means you need to be extremely careful when navigating them and not go against the flow of traffic.

The largest parking lot that is best for RVers is the Main Parking Lot located in between the Park Office and campground. Of course, you can also park at the campground if you are staying overnight. There are several other parking lots dotted around the park such as near Big Manitou Falls and Little Manitou Falls.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Pattison State Park

Campsites in Pattison State Park

Reservations camping

Pattison State Park Campground

There are a total of 59 campsites within the park, 18 of which have electric hookups. There are a wide variety of sites available for RVs of many different sizes up to and even greater than 50 feet in length. The campgrounds feature several water fountains, and restrooms, and centrally located showers. Campsites feature picnic tables and fire rings. Plus, your pet is welcome to stay with you. The parking lot for extra vehicles is directly beside the campground, so if you need to use it you won't end up having to hike back to your campsite.

The service road leading to Overlook Trail can be accessed from the campground as well as a walkway to Beaver Trail and the nearby picnic area. If you plan on staying in the winter you should be prepared to get water from the contact station during open office hours because the water at the campground gets turned off during the winter months. Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 11 months in advance.

First-come first-served

Pattison State Park Campground

No sites at this campground are explicitly first-come, first-served, so if you want to ensure you have a site upon arrival, make sure to book it in advance.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Pattison State Park

In-Season

Fishing

Fishing is one of the most enjoyable aspects of Pattison State Park and the park office makes it a breeze for anyone to take part. Even if you've never gone fishing before, don't have any equipment, or just left some of your equipment at home, equipment can be checked out from the park office free of charge. Getting a bite may prove difficult since the recreational fishing spots are few and far between in the park, but don't get discouraged. There are several rules and regulations you must follow when fishing, though, including size and bag limits and licensing requirements. So prepared to cast your line when you take an RV trip to Pattison State Park.

Hiking

Hiking can be enjoyed year round as well. Several miles of trails will take you all throughout the park, giving you unbeatable views of the surrounding nature. However, if you want to experience the best view in all of the park, head to the south overlook at Big Manitou Falls, which even features a selfie stand so you can make all your friends jealous of your awesome vacation. RV campers are free to pick edible nuts, fruits, wild mushrooms, asparagus, and watercress along the trails for personal consumption, but you accept all risk associated with this.

Wildlife Viewing

You can enjoy birding and wildlife viewing from pretty much any spot in the park since the whole thing is just teeming with wildlife. Depending upon the season the wildlife can vary, but the summer and spring months tend to bring the most critters to the park. Over 50 species of mammals call the park home, as well as nearly 200 species of birds. Common animals spotted within the park include squirrels, deer, rabbits, moose, wolves, and plenty of insects. So don't forget to pack those binoculars in your camper.

Off-Season

Hunting

From November 15th to December 15th trapping and gun and archery hunting is allowed in certain parts of the park. Hunting can be a great way to get in touch with your primitive nature side and is a bonding experience for many people. However, it is important to note certain trapping methods are restricted and no type of trapping or hunting is allowed within 100 yards of any designated use area. Hunting and trapping maps for the park can be found online and you should always read all the rules and regulations before setting out and strictly adhere to them to avoid causing any trouble or damage.

Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is available during winter months and there are miles of trails that RV campers can choose from. Cruising through the snow-capped fir, birch, spruce, and aspen trees is not an experience you'll soon forget. Some trails are subject to seasonal closings in the winter if they were damaged during the summer rains, so double check and make sure whatever trail you plan on using is actually open before setting out. Pattison State Park also has a number of informal trails available for snowshoeing if that is more your style.

Geocaching

Experienced geocachers have requested and received permission to hide caches containing trinkets and treasures or information in different areas of the park. Check the Geocaching website for the most up to date information as well as clues to find these caches. This can be a very enjoyable activity for a family with inquisitive youngsters who want to explore and can be enjoyed year round.

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