Governor Thompson State Park sign

Governor Thompson State Park

Based on the (current) satellite shots of Governor Thompson State Park, I was kind of expecting a rather barren wasteland to hike through.

It was anything but.

While there isn’t a whole lot to see, other than green and mushrooms, the park is (currently) quite lush.

We took the Whippoorwill Trail on this our first visit. It’s not quite a loop, but it comes a lot closer to being one than most of the named trails in the park.

We walked it counterclockwise starting at the parking lot near the imaginatively-named Woods Lake.

Whippoorwill Trail head sign
Woods Lake

The first stretch of the trail is very straight and very open because it follows these power poles.

Whippoorwill Trail start

Somewhere near the beginning was this tower which I assume is used to spot forest fires. It would have been neat to climb, but there’s obviously no possibility of that happening.

Fire tower

The trails are very well marked. There was no question as to which way to go to keep on the Whippoorwill.

Whippoorwill Forest sign
Whippoorwill Granite sign
Whippoorwill Visitor Center sign

On the official trail map, you’ll notice several gates marked. This is what they look like.

Trail gate

They’re obviously there to stop certain traffic, but the more I think about it, the less certain I am what that traffic might be.

Mushrooms were plentiful and of many varieties.

mushroom crop
mushroom pair
mushroom with thick stem
yellow mushrooms

This little guy was about as big as my thumbnail. He was the only animal we saw.

Tiny frog

Look again…It’s a frog, just right of center.

This tree seems to have fallen rather recently. The leaves are still green, but it looked like we weren’t the first to try to walk under it.

Fallen tree - recent

The Whippoorwill Trail ends (again, walking counterclockwise) at the main road near the Visitor Center.

Whippoorwill Trail end

The Center looks like a very nice, relatively new building, but it was locked, so we couldn’t check out anything inside (other than the restrooms). Nearby is a maintenance garage that looks like it could hold fire engines. (I didn’t try to peek into the windows.)

Visitor Center
Vehicle storage building

And that’s it. It’s a nice place to visit, but since it’s so out-of-the-way, I doubt we’ll ever go there again.

We didn’t take the Granite Trail to see what the rock outcroppings mentioned on the trail map look like. I’m somewhat suspicious of such an item when it seems to be one of the main features on an official map. Have you seen them?


Nearest City

Crivitz, Wisconsin (15 miles)

Nearest Emergency Facility

Crivitz, Wisconsin (15 miles)


6:00 AM to 11:00 PM, year-round


Vehicle admission sticker required

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