Fancy taking an RV trip to where the Trempealeau River meets the Mississippi? Perrot State Park is a 1,270-acre state park in Wisconsin's Driftless Area that is known for the gorgeous views from the 500-foot limestone bluffs. The park is full of plentiful wetlands and river valleys that host the migratory birds that pass through the area twice a year. Named after French explorer Nicolas Perrot, the park is the home of one of the earliest encampments by Europeans who explored the upper Mississippi. Some earthwork mounds that were made by ancient Native American cultures can also be found within the park.
If you like to stay in parks that have natural significance, Perrot State Park is for you. Here, two designated State Natural Areas, Brady's Bluff Prairie, and Trempealeau Mountain, bring visitors from near and far to see the diverse prairie plant life and a unique cone-shaped mountain surrounded by water. The natural landmarks aren't the only thing to see here. Depending on the season, there are many different recreational activities to do in the park. In the summertime, hiking, boating, and fishing are popular. During winter, guests come to the park to enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and hunting. There are 38 sites RV-suitable campsites that have electrical hookups, and one that is accessible for people with disabilities. The campground also has flush toilets, showers, and a dump station available during peak season. You can camp during all seasons at Perrot State Park, but it will be a quieter experience during the winter.
Perrot State Park is centrally located and relatively close to many major cities in the area. The park is located 220 miles northwest of Milwaukee, 154 miles northwest of Madison, 216 miles west of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and from Minneapolis, Minnesota, the park is 129 miles southeast.
Please note that Wisconsin State Parks charge a daily admission fee, and all vehicles entering the park must pay for parking, which is an additional cost to overnight camping. Once you pay for parking at Park Headquarters, you will proceed through the main gate and head to the campgrounds located in the northwest portion of the park. Signs will direct you to your destination.
During the winter, it can be challenging to access the park if there is a snowstorm, so make sure to check the local weather and road conditions before you depart on your journey.
Perrot State Park has a beautiful campground that is located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River. The sites will give you great views, and there are nice and private shaded campsites. In total, there are 38 sites able to accommodate rigs up to 45 feet in length that will provide your RV with electrical hookups, and one site that is accessible for people with disabilities. Although there are no water hookups, direct to the sites, there are 14 water stations in the campground. We recommend choosing site 35 or 36 if you want to be close to Trempealeau Bay. Other amenities include flush toilets, pit toilets, a shower block, a dump station, a recycling area, and a canoe launch spot into Trempealeau Bay. You will be able to pick up phone reception in the campgrounds, and pets are allowed on leashes only. Reservations can be made by calling the campground or booking them online at the Perrot State Park website. You can camp during all four seasons at Perrot State Park, and during the winter, it will be much quieter in comparison to the peak summertime.
If the campground at Perrot State Park is full, there are several other state parks in the area that offer similar amenities. Merrick State Park to the west is around a half an hour drive, and the Great River Bluffs State Park is on the Minnesota side of the river is about 45 minutes away. Both parks offer RV friendly campsites able to accommodate vehicles up to 60 feet in length. Other facilities at these neighboring parks include flush toilets, showers, and water sources.
Perrot State Park is located along the Mississippi River flyway, and it is a prime spot for bird watching, so be sure not to forget your binoculars in the Sprinter as you wander the park. There have been more than 200 species spotted in the area. Some of the most popular to be on the look for are warblers, hawks, and vireos. During the spring, you can spot hundreds of tundra swans making their grand journey through the park on the way to their summer home near the Arctic Circle. How many birds will you be able to check off your birding checklist during your visit?
There is a unique beauty at Perrot State Park once the winter comes. If you visit during this time, make sure you get out of the rig and enjoy the snowy scenery. When the conditions are suitable, there are nine miles of trails groomed for cross-country skiing. Skiers over the age of 16 must have a state trail pass, which you can buy from the park office before you begin skiing.
During Wisconsin's hunting and trapping season, portions of Perrot State Park permit hunting, but like many areas within the country, hunting is permissible by permit, and hunters must adhere to hunting and trapping laws established by the state. Before you plan your hunting trip, read the hunting guide to understand the boundaries for hunting, and adhere to the deer hunting bow and muzzleloader guidelines. The Wisconsin state park system publishes a hunting and trapping guide that details the specifics for hunting in the park.
The park's location along the Great River Road makes it easy to put the Class A in drive and see one of the most scenic drives in the country. You could drive for hours, or even days, in either direction along the Mississippi. This Scenic Byway stretches across a whopping ten states and follows the natural path carved by the river. There are numerous scenic and historical pull-offs along this route, along with various vineyards and charming river towns. The best time for this drive is during the autumn when the fall foliage is in full swing, and the ice and snow have yet to come.
There are a few different fishing options at Perrot State Park. You can shore fishing in the Trempealeau River and Trempealeau Bay right near the park, but both areas are shallow, and the water levels change during the year. The Trempealeau Lakes Recreation Area also has shore fishing and an accessible fishing pier. If you want to fish in bigger water, the Mississipi River has excellent fishing opportunities, and common catches include catfish, northern pike, panfish, walleye, and northern bass. If you're interested in casting out but didn't pack the gear along in the airstream, don't fret—fishing equipment rental is available from the park office.
Whether you enjoy cruising the water with a motor-driven boat or paddling leisurely along the shoreline, Perrot State Park has both types of boating so that all water-lovers will have a chance to explore the rivers or the bay as they see fit. Boaters may access the Trempealeau River from the boat landing and explore the Mississippi River and the Trempealeau Bay. Paddlers may make the 3.5-mile canoe trail and paddle for two to three hours to complete the route. If you didn't haul a canoe with you, visit the park office to rent a canoe or kayak.
Lace-up your hiking boots and leave the pop-up behind. Perrot State Park offers some incredible hiking opportunities for visitors of all ages. There are seven trails in total that vary in length from half a mile to two and a half miles. Brady’s Bluff is one of the more popular trails. It is quite narrow and steep, and you will encounter steps and a stairway, but it is an easy trail at half a mile. As soon as you start the hike, your view will be stunning, as you can see over the Mississippi Valley.
Bikers love Perrot State Park, and for a good reason. Right next to the park's campground, there is direct bike access to the Great River State Trail. This 24-mile trail follows the upper Mississippi River valley and affords riders beautiful views of the river as they ride over an abandoned railroad line. The crushed limestone trail was once a part of the Chicago-Northwestern railroad line but now acts as part of the Great River State Trail. Those looking to ride the trail must acquire a state trail pass and bring their own bikes along in the motorhome as the park does not offer rentals.