Copper Culture State Park sign

Copper Culture State Park

Let’s be honest. There isn’t a lot to see at Copper Culture State Park. There isn’t even an official trail map.

The sign (see above) marking the entrance to the park isn’t one of those fancy stone-and-wood jobs that many parks have. If you look carefully at the sign, you’ll notice that it isn’t even correct. They don’t officially call it “Copper Culture Mounds” anymore because there aren’t any mounds there. (I don’t think anyone knows why they called it that in the first place.)

Bluebird Trail and More

From looking at Google map’s satellite view, I knew ahead of time that there was a trail cut through the open fields in Copper Culture park. I didn’t know it had a name (Bluebird).

Near the museum, there is a glass-encased bulletin board that tries valiantly to show you there are technically 4 trails in Copper Culture.

Copper Culture State Park B&W trail map

There’s a rather nice (and better) full color version too. (You can see it in the upper left corner above.) I don’t know why they haven’t duplicated this paper for visitors to use.

Copper Culture State Park trail map - color

So apparently there are the Bluebird Trail, Story Book Trail, River Trail, and Woodland Path that you can hike. To be fair though, the Story Book is really just a shorter section of the River Trail. It would be nice if all these trails had markers at the trailheads. Maybe we just missed them, but we only saw markers for the Bluebird Trail.

Bluebird Trail south end

Just before we got to the Bluebird Trail – actually, according to the map, while we were on the Bluebird-River-Woodland trail(s) – we did see a fauna. (Is that how you say it when there’s only one?)

Monarch butterfly
Monarch butterfly

The south end of this trail is near a sign you won’t often, if ever, see elsewhere.

Caution honeybees

We didn’t go closer to try to find the hive.

“The honeybees are calling me home,” the Pine Tree sign (below) says. You can read that two ways. It took me a while to interpret it correctly.

Pine Tree sign

There were a few bluebird houses along the Bluebird Trail. There are many such houses along state park trails, but I’ve never seen one with a protected entry like this. I’m not sure what the purpose of the wire mesh is.

Bluebird house
Bluebird Research Project sign

A pet peeve I’ve developed while hiking in state parks is trails that don’t loop. We hiked the meandering Bluebird Trail from south to north and ended up on River Rd. (aka W. Mott St., per Google) just west-southwest of where it intersects Copper Culture Way, which is the road into the park.

Not wanting to retrace our steps (though it was a very short trail), we walked along the road until we got back to the park entrance. Instead of going back into the park (not realizing at the time that there were other trails), we kept going south onto the Copper Culture Trail.

Copper Culture Trail

Copper Culture Trail

This is yet another trail that doesn’t loop. This one isn’t even all in one piece. Part of it is north of the park where it forks into two dead ends. The southern portion goes from the entry of the park, under highway 41…

Entrance to the tunnel under 41
Tunnel under highway 41

…and then splits left and right. If you go right (we didn’t), you’ll cross the Oconto River and dead end at McDonald St. If you go left (we did), according to Google maps, the trail seems to end at Mott St. (yes, the same Mott that is apparently on the west side of 41 and not connected to this section on the east side).

3-mile trail signpost

But Google isn’t quite right here. I’m getting ahead of myself, but there’s a trail marker just south of the Kwik Trip where the trail (maybe?) ends at Brazeau Ave.

I’m not sure where the 3 miles is measured from. I’m not sure anyone else knows either. In any case, the trail keeps going along Mott and Main streets at least as far as that signpost.

Copper Culture State Park lies within the borders of the city of Oconto. The Copper Culture Trail (all sections of it) does too. As we followed the trail along Mott and then Main streets, we came across a few interesting signs and features of Oconto.

Oconto is a quaint little (about 4600 residents) city that is proud of their Blue Devils, the local high school sports team(s).

Oconto sign
Blue Devils sign

Have you ever heard of Bond Pickles? Leon Bond and his four brothers are responsible for them. (They actually got started in Green Bay.)

The Bonds (especially Leon, not James…there was no James in this family) were significant residents of Oconto. A tiny park was named in Leon’s honor. The caption is a little misleading…Leon died in 2000 at age 104. We doubt he was very dedicated to the city before the age of, say, 12…?

Bond Park

Does anyone actually use these things?

Exercise stations

Near that 3-mile signpost is this Wisconsin Historical Marker. It’s the main reason we decided to hike this trail. (You can read more about the 5 historical markers in Oconto here.)

Francois Xavier cross
Francois Xavier marker site

Did I mention that the Copper Culture Trail isn’t a loop? We retraced our steps (mostly) stopping at the Kwik Trip and Dollar Tree on the way back to the park. It was at this time that we discovered the maps mentioned above, as we made our way to the museum which had just opened for the day.

The Museum at Copper Culture

The Copper Culture Museum is the former home of Charles Werrebroeck. It now serves to tell you about the history of the Indians of the area (and several other areas, like Butte des Morts).

Since you’re not allowed to take pictures of some of the artifacts, I didn’t try to take pictures of anything inside the building. I did get shots of all four outside walls, each of which has a slightly different brick design.

Museum east
Museum east
Museum north
Museum north
Museum west
Museum west
Museum south
Museum south

After looking quickly through the house and listening to our guide, we drove to beautiful downtown Oconto. Oconto, by the way, is about half an hour north of Green Bay.

Oconto, the City with the Clock

We parked near another historical marker, the First Church of Christ Scientist, and walked the length of Main St. through downtown Oconto.

Unexpectedly, we found that the city has several wonderful Victorian houses. This was by far the best-kept that we saw.

Victorian house in Oconto

There were banners hanging from the street lamps. Some of them proudly showed a clock on a pole. I’m sure this is the landmark they proclaimed.

Oconto clock

A chief reason for walking Main St. was to find the last two historical markers. I won’t repeat the info about them here, but I’ll just mention that one was at the Farnsworth Library and the other was at the former Stanley Toy Company. (Do check out the mural on the library.)

Along the route is this well-maintained building from 1891. I appreciated the Christmas wreaths in the windows. (It was July.)

1891 building in Oconto

I don’t think the area had an official name, but this fountain and marker were of some interest. (This is not an official state historical marker.)

Fountain in Oconto
Perrot stone marker
Perrot plaque

Gotta love it. No further comment needed.

We laminate fishing licenses!

If you visit Copper Culture State Park, do take some time to look at the rest of Oconto too, as we did. We did all the above in just 2 hours. True, there’s not a lot to see in either place, but all together it makes for a worthwhile visit. And it’s all free.


Nearest City

Oconto, Wisconsin (surrounding)

Nearest Emergency Facility

Oconto, Wisconsin (surrounding)


Park – unspecified; Museum – 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Memorial Day to Labor Day




Trail map – none, see photo above

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