Mill Bluff State Park sign

Mill Bluff State Park

Mill Bluff State Park was the last of four parks we visited in one excursion. The other three were Council Grounds, Kinnickinnic, and Willow River.

Mill Bluff is what I would call a simple park. There’s very little in the way of trails (and we didn’t even hike it/them, as you’ll see). There’s one big reason to visit this park – climbing Mill Bluff.

At the Base of Mill Bluff

Mill Bluff State Park is oddly situated among highways and roadways, a railway, several bluffs, and a nearby military installation.

It can be a noisy place.

In the short time we were there, we could see and hear traffic on I-90/94, US 12, Funnel Road, the train tracks, and in the air – 2 fighter jets took off from Volk Field and roared overhead.

Yet, the area around Mill Bluff itself feels kinda cozy. There’s a tiny cabin that serves as the park office.

Office cabin at Mill Bluff

It’s one of many that aren’t currently staffed. (This makes one wonder if vehicle stickers are actually required.)

There’s an A-frame shelter that appears to be electrified. (We didn’t attempt to see if the lights worked.)


Across Funnel Road (to the west of  Mill Bluff) is a gazebo and playground (as well as a camping area).

Gazebo and playground

There is also a swimming pond over there as you can see from this shot I took from the top of the bluff.

Pond for swimming

There’s a path around the base of the bluff, but since this debris was in the way, we didn’t hike it.

Blocked path

We could have gone around it, but we just didn’t feel the effort was going to be worth it.

At the Top of Mill Bluff

Near the shelter is a sign directing you to the Mill Bluff Trail, the one that takes you to the top. I appreciated how the arrow pointed slightly upward.

Mill Bluff Trail sign

After a short walk along this slightly inclined path…

Trail start

…you get to the steps.

Mill Bluff trail steps

There are about 175 stone steps to the top of Mill Bluff. There’s a sturdy handrail on your left which you will likely want to use – both on your ascent and descent. There are no benches along the way, but there are plenty of places you can sit and rest, which you may want to do on the way up.

You can walk all along the top of the bluff. It’s completely fenced in for your safety. It’s actually fairly narrow.

At the north end is an observation deck from which you can see several nearby bluffs that are also technically part of the park.

Observation deck

In the shot below, I think you can see Wildcat Bluff on the left, both peaks of Camels Bluff(s) in the center, Bee Bluff in front of them, and one more bluff on the right. You can hike around Camels Bluff, but we didn’t go there.

Nearby bluffs

Long Bluff is mostly in the park, but you can’t see it very well because of the trees.

Long Bluff plaque

I wonder what Mill Bluff looked like back in the 1960s when this historical marker was placed. The marker is at the base of the bluff to the east of the shelter. You can’t really see the bluff itself from there, but maybe you could back then.

Mill Bluff is a nice place to visit, but even if we were campers, I don’t think we’d want to stay overnight here due to the traffic noise. In the daytime, when you’re among the trees, it can be quite quiet.

Unless the National Guard passes by.


Nearest City

Camp Douglas, Wisconsin (3 miles)

Nearest Emergency Facility

Tomah, Wisconsin (10 miles)


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


Vehicle admission sticker required

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