61st Street Parking Area - Dells of the Wisconsin River is located on the West side of the Wisconsin River, North of Wisconsin Dells and is also part of Dells of the Wisconsin River State Natural Area. It is the best maintained but probably the least attended parking lot. It’s set in the rolling terrain behind some small farms and most wouldn’t even think to venture back to this hidden gem. There is a good sized paved parking lot with a large restroom building, information kiosk, an overlook of the river with a deck and sitting benches with a small mowed path creating a trail. The coolest feature of this part of the State Natural area is an old boat launch that is now closed with a paved road that goes down to a bay of the Wisconsin River. The bay features cliffs on two sides with woods behind on a very wide section of the river that has a sandy beach. This is a picture perfect setting especially when the sky is bright blue with big fluffy clouds. Throw in a fishing line while you watch the area wildlife, jumping fish and in the warmer months observe a variety of river boats cruising the waters. This part of the Dells of the Wisconsin River requires a State Park Sticker to enter!
A plaque attached to a rock overlooking the river by a wooden bench reads: “Dells of the Wisconsin River – This area of striking geological features, natural communities, and rare plants and animals is dedicated to scientific research, the teaching of natural history, and the preservation of its wild and scenic values for future generations. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources June 23, 1997”
Dells of the Wisconsin River State Natural Area
61st Street Parking Area
Dells of the Wisconsin River State Natural Area is owned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, also known as the Wisconsin DNR. It is located in the Wisconsin Dells ,WI 53965 area at the intersection of four counties: Columbia, Juneau, Sauk and Adams counties. The Dells of the Wisconsin River is a gorge about 5 miles long carved out by the Wisconsin River. It features rock formations, cliffs, tributary canyons and amazing views. There are three main parking areas giving access to the public areas all North of The Dells; one on the West side of the river and two on the East side. All three locations offer trails for hiking. Some parts of the State Natural Area are not open to the public, mainly along the river with steep banks. There is also a section leased out by one of the local river boat tour companies.
WI DNR Sign Reads: “Area Open – 5:00 am to 10 pm between May 15 and September 15th and 5:00 am to 8:00 pm between September 16 and May 14. NO Fires, NO Camping, NO Glass Containers.”
Dells of the Wisconsin River
The Wisconsin River is about 430 miles long and is known for its amazing historical background Several popular flowages are created from it including Lake Du Bay, Lake Petenwell and Castle Rock Lake. The river begins at the northeast corner of Wisconsin flowing southwest and ends in the west central part of the state at the Mississippi River. One of the most popular sections of the river is about 5 miles long which is known as the Dells of the Wisconsin River. It is better known as the famous Wisconsin Dells that is filled with fun attractions and historical landmarks. Thousands of years ago the ice that formed Lake Wisconsin melted away causing an overflow which cut a portion of the Wisconsin River out. In turn that created the Wisconsin Dells that had previously been called Kilbourn. Today the river offers outdoor activities like swimming, boating, kayaking, fishing, canoeing, tubing, photography, sitting by the water and even transportation. There are all types of aquatic life here including clams, catfish, sturgeon, musky, bass, panfish, mud puppies, snakes, turtles, and also terrestrial wildlife including deer, turkeys, bald eagles, cranes, song birds, and more that live in and around the mighty Wisconsin River.
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