Kinnickinnic State Park is a nice place to visit…if you can find it!
We came from a hotel in Hudson, which is almost 10 miles (not 8.7, as the official trail map suggests) from the park. Driving south on County F, there is one small sign half a mile before you get to the road to get to the park.
That road, 820th Avenue, is a dead end. The first time we turned onto it, we thought we’d made a mistake and turned around. We could see those small, yellow State Park signs in the nearby trees, so we figured it must be the next road south on F.
That next road, which we missed on a first attempt, is actually part of the park, but it’s only a small area called Angler’s Parking Lot. So after stopping there briefly, we went back to 820th, and finally found the park entrance.
Now, I realize we maybe weren’t too smart with our approach, but it wouldn’t hurt for the friends of the park to post one more large sign right at the intersection of F and 820th telling potential visitors that this really is the right place to turn. You can’t immediately see the park entrance after turning the corner onto 820th.
Picnicking and Hiking in Kinnickinnic State Park
We drove along the only road into the park until we got to a picnic area about ⅔ of the way from the entrance to the end of the road.
We had the whole area to ourselves (not counting park staff). We almost had the whole park to ourselves, but there was one more car at the end-of-the-road lot later.
After lunch in the shade, we started down the Yellow Trail. We also hiked part of the Orange Trail and the Purple Trail (which looks blue on the markers) to make a large loop of about 2 miles.
The official trail map says the Orange Trail is “more difficult”, but don’t let that scare you away. It has a fairly gentle slope down and back up again that probably won’t make you breathe harder than normal.
Along the way are several informational signs about the creatures you might see in the area. We didn’t see any of them.
Near that other picnic area is an overlook of the Kinnickinnic and St. Croix rivers. The approach to the overlook platform has a sign that you wouldn’t have seen just a few years ago.
I’m not totally sure which river (or maybe both) is shown in the picture below.
The signs attached to the overlook sort of explain what you’re seeing.
Next to the overlook is this informational plaque.
In the picnic area is a nice fire pit and and interesting platform you can climb. I couldn’t decide if the trees / poles around its edge grew there naturally or if they had been brought in from elsewhere and been “planted” there.
Near the end of the trail loop, we crossed this wide open prairie. This is where that prairie chicken sign was located. Makes sense.
Back in our original picnic area, we noticed this fountain. It didn’t work though. Looks like the handle had been removed.
We also visited Council Grounds, Willow River, and Mill Bluff on this trip. Some of those were more interesting than Kinnickinnic.
Kinnickinnic State Park is one of a few parks that doesn’t really have anything extra-special to attract visitors like us. However, if you’re into “camping” on your boat – called boat mooring – or if you like skijoring (if you know, you know – otherwise, look it up), then this park could be just what you’ve been looking for.
I hope you can find it.
River Falls, Wisconsin (8 miles)
Nearest Emergency Facility
River Falls, Wisconsin (8 miles)
6:00 AM to 11:00 PM, year-round
Vehicle admission sticker required.