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Monday, January 19, 2015

Roche A Cri State Park, Friendship WI

Roche A Cri State Park in Friendship WI

This weekend, M and I finally visited Roche A Cri State Park. The park consisted of a 300 ft tall rock outcrop that used to be an island in the middle of a large glacial lake in central Wisconsin. The area around the outcrop was flat except for a couple of these glacial deposits. Since we visited in winter, the only way into the park was from the side entrance on Czech Ave.

We hiked on the trail from the parking lot to Acorn Trail which took us around the west side of the mound. True to its name, the trail was littered with acorns from the oak trees. We took a shortcut via Mound Trail to get to the base of the mound where there was a staircase that led up to the top. After 303 steps, M and I reached the top where there was a large viewing platform. The staircase made for a quick hike up the steep cliffside, and it also served to protect the fragile sandstone formation and plants on the mound. After viewing the vast countryside from the platform, we walked down the stairs and continued hiking.

From the base of the mound, we walked east along the snow covered road and hiked a short spur trail to Chickadee Rock Nature Trail. After 0.34 miles, we reached Chicakadee Rock. It was named so, not because the rock looked like the bird, but because there were so many of them in the area. Besides the large Chickadee Rock formation, there were many glacial erratic deposits nearby. We then continued on Acorn Trail and made our way to the east side of the mound.

Acorn trail crossed the main road, which was closed during winter, then passed by the campground. After the campground, there were signs for the petroglyphs, so we continued on to the southside of the mound. Here, we could see faint remnants of petroglyphs from the Native American predecessors of the Ho Chunk Nation. However, though it was neat to see the rock art, so much of the cliff wall had been defaced by people that it was hard to see all of the petroglyphs.

We then headed back to the car after seeing the pictographs. We crossed over to the creek and took the bridge back to where we parked. Roche A Cri was worth the visit and it was great to go in winter since there were no crowds. We saw 3 other people there but had the entire viewing platform and trails to ourselves.

We hiked from the parking lot at Czech Ave and then went left (clockwise), climbed to the top, then back down to the petroglyphs. 

From the parking lot, we took the trail to Acorn Trail

We took Acorn Trail

Crossed the bridge over the winding creek

Took the left fork to stay on Acorn Trail

Woods around us along Acorn Trail

Along Acorn Trail in Roche A Cri State Park

Acorn Trail. Maintenance was conducted in the area which let in light and opened up the space.

Acorn Trail turns back and gets closer to the mound

Acorn Trail meets up with Eagle Ridge Trail which we did not take.

Made our first snowman for 2015 along Mound Trail

Getting closer to the mound. In the summer, you can find restrooms and running water here.

Roche A Cri mound

Start of the 303 steps to the top

Well maintained and new staircase

Staircase protects the fragile ecosystem on the mound

Creation of the mounds and information about area around them

Made it to the top going to the viewing platform

Western view from Roche A Cri Mound

Northern view from Roche A Cri Mound

Eastern view from Roche A Cri Mound

Panoramic view from the top of Roche A Cri Mound

Going down, back on the trail

Heading to Chickadee Rock Trail

Nice wide trails, well maintained

M found a bee in the snow

Chicakdee Rock, a glacial deposit

Continuing on Acorn Trail from Chickadee Rock

Roche A Cri mound is to the right of the trail, heading south to the petroglyphs

Campsite in Roche A Cri, view from the trail

Trail splits. We continue to petroglyphs

300 ft tall sandstone cliff of Roche A Cri

After some hunting, we found one of the petroglyphs among the other more recent carvings

The steps leading to the petroglyphs from the road

Another view of Roche A Cri mound

From the road, we went left and took Spring Peeper Trail

Spring Peeper Trail leading to the creek
The creek winding around Roche A Cri State Park
Crossing through the prairie that was planted in 1996 before getting to the parking lot at Roche A Cri State Park


  1. Just discovered your blog, love all of the travel posts! Can't wait to read more!

    1. So sorry it took me this long to reply but happy to see this comment! Thanks!