For this years camping trip with my daughter, Sandy’s Girl Scout troop we went to Roche-A-Cri State Park in WI. This park was a great spot for one of our scout’s first overnights in a tent. There was quite a bit to see in this park with other nearby attractions. Roche-A-Cri was also mine and my daughter’s first Wisconsin state park, it left a wonder impression for future Wisconsin adventures!
Roche-A-Cri has just one main road and a campground loop. Both of these roads are one-way, making it easy to visit each site at the park.
The campground is the first stop on the loop. If you’re camping in the park, it’s a simple one way loop around the campground with well defined signs at each site stating the site number.
As far as state park campgrounds go, Roche-A-Cri is quite spacious. Yes, you can still hear your neighbors, but there is more space between sites than most state parks we’ve camped at (aside from the hike-in sites). There is also quite a bit of brush and trees between sites, adding a nice curtain of woods between campers.
Firewood: Firewood must be certified and purchased from within 10 miles of the burn site. This is to reduce the spread of harmful tree diseases. The ranger station sells firewood, but only during open hours. We arrived after hours, bummer. While the I helped the Girl Scouts set up camp, my co-leader went to the gas station up the road and purchased two bundles. The gas station is just a few miles from the state park, to the left while exiting the park.
Bathrooms: The vault style bathrooms are fairly decent, stocked with toilet paper, a functional light, hand sanitizer and air fresheners. The toilets even have lids, keep these lids closed to prevent small critters from falling in. Not kidding, there is even a sign posted about it! There are no showers present at this park, bring wipes for an extending stay.
An intriguing site of history and a slice of ancient graffiti sits at the base of the Roche-A-Cri Mound, the second stop on the loop. It’s located on the opposite side of the mound from the set of stairs. There is a parking area to the left with clear signage and a really neat stand for your phone to take a selfie with the rock formation.
The petroglyphs are of crow feet, also present are some paintings of a man and bird. Look closely for a very old signature on the stone with a date from the 1800’s. This is the really old graffiti, evidence that mankind has been wrecking stuff for ages.
Please respect the history of this site and keep your paws off! See what Steve did? Don’t be like Steve. And JSF is directly above an ancient rock painting. Come on guys… The 1800’s signature is neat, but we know better by now.
The third stop along the road, although it doesn’t require a new parking space, is directly across from the petroglyph site, Carter Creek. This winding creek runs through the park, a great spot to search for animals tracks and spot wildflowers. Our scouts had a great time checking out the water and searching for things on the creeks edge. It’s amazing how kids can become so enthralled by any water feature.
Oh, man! What a neat feature at a state park! The Mound Trail is located near the northern part of the park and is the fourth stop along the one-way road. It can be accessed by either the parking area or as a spur off of the Acorn Trail. This is a must at Roche-A-Cri. With it’s 303 steps leading up the the overlook, it has an amazing view of the landscape surrounding the park. Check out the Roche-A-Cri Mound Hike for more details.
All of these sites can be reached via hiking trails if you prefer to explore the park on foot. Roche-A-Cri has 6 miles of hiking trails. The Acorn Trail provides a tour of the whole park as it encircles the entire park. This trail is about 3.5 miles in length and can be accessed by numerous parking areas and the campground. It has spur trails that lead to the other features in the park. We did just a small portion of this trail and climbed the Roche-A-Cri Mound.
Caution: There is an abundance of Poison Ivy throughout the park with a number of signs warning hikers and campers. Keep on the trail to avoid the misery that this plant inflicts.
Roche-A-Cri was a great place to camp for the weekend. Not only did this park provide ample adventure, it’s also a short distance to a lot of other area attractions.
Dells: Just 40 minutes south of the park is the Wisconsin Dells. Being a fair distance away keeps this park quiet, but close enough to visit some of the states greatest attractions.
Chapel Gorge Trail: A great area hike is the the Chapel Gorge Trail Hike. We had a great time trekking this hike with out scouts. Bring a swim suit, there is a bonus beach on this hike.
Bighorn Ranch: A short 10 miles up the road from the park is a great horse ranch that offers trail rides to even the most inexperience riders.