• Hiking Trails

  • From state parks to nature preserves, the Spring Green area offers a hiking experience through the woods, prairies, and wetlands where you’ll witness all types of flora and fauna.  The following are a few places to begin:

    Avoca Prairie and Savanna
    Within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, Iowa County.  For wildflowers and native plant enthusiasts, and those who like their recreation on the wild side, an outing to the 970-acre wet-mesic prairie is highly recommended.  Located in the Avoca Unit of the Riverway, 7 miles west of the Lone Rock bridge on Highway 133, the Avoca Prairie is the largest tall grass prairie east of the Mississippi.  It is probably the only place in the eastern U.S. where, no matter where you stand, you only see natural prairie-savanna features.  We recommend that you check in with the ranger station at Tower Hill State Park before heading out to the prairie.   https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Lands/naturalareas/index.asp?SNA=68

    Ferry Bluff State Natural Area
    Ferry Bluff and the adjacent Cactus Bluff tower more than 300 feet above the confluence of Honey Creek and the Wisconsin River. The sandstone bluffs, capped with dolomite harbors undisturbed open cliff vegetation, prairie remnants, and steep wooded slopes of white and red oaks with basswood, hackberry, elm, hickory, and ironwood.  Although the forest on the summit and north-facing slopes is relatively young, the ground-layer is rich with many ferns on the slopes and a diverse spring flora throughout.  Prairie species remain especially on the dry south-facing slopes. The moist shaded cliffs contain a diversity of species including many ferns such as fragile and bulbet fern. Ferry Bluff is the site of a former peregrine falcon eyrie and continues to be an important winter roosting site for bald eagles.  The base of the Ferry Bluff also housed a Civil War era ferryboat landing. Ferry Bluff is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1988.  https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Lands/naturalareas/index.asp?SNA=217

    Spring Green Preserve
    Spring Green Preserve, known as the 'Wisconsin Desert', features a rolling sand prairie on an old Wisconsin River terrace and harbors a unique flora and fauna that are adapted to the hot, droughty environment.  The dry sandy soils contain many desert-like plants such as false heather, three-awn grass, and prickly pear cactus.  Nearly 40 species of annuals and biennials thrive here, a high number for a prairie, including plains snake-cotton, Venus'-looking-glass, and dwarf dandelion.  Several sand blows, with shifting dunes and open sand, are scattered throughout. Bird life is diverse and includes large numbers of rare open country birds such as the dickcissel. The invertebrates, however, are the most unusual of the Spring Green fauna. Several of the spiders and insects are not known from any other site in Wisconsin. Of special interest are the black widow and several wolf spiders, five species of cicada, eight species of tiger beetles, and predatory wasps. A large pocket gopher population has created patches of open ground where short-lived plants grow. Spring Green Reserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy and was designated a State Natural Area in 1972.  https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Lands/naturalareas/index.asp?SNA=102

    St. Anne’s Chapel
    Built a half century ago on top of the high, wooded hill west of the present days St. Luke’s Catholic Church, in Plain, is open to at all times.  A strenuous climb takes you past the 14 stations of the Way of the Cross leading from St. Luke’s through the cemetery and winding up the hill to the chapel.  A short distance down the hill from St. Anne’s Chapel is a replica of the Lourdes Grotto.  There are benches along the path to allow for breaks.  http://www.stlukecatholicchurchplain.com/st.-anne-s-chapel.html

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