Chapel Gorge Trail - Dells of the Wisconsin River - South Parking Lot is located on River Road East of the Wisconsin River and North of Wisconsin Dells. The parking lot starts the Chapel Gorge Trail that goes through the woods and turns into a loop. At the end of the loop is a nice sandy beach on the river. This is basically the only spot on the East side of the Wisconsin River in the State Natural Area where you can get to the water. The rest of the shoreline is closed due to safety concerns because of the steepness and to protect the lands natural features. The hiking trail is 1.62 miles long in total with a maximum altitude of 1,010 ft above sea level. At the beach area you can see parts of the 5 mile long gorge where the river caved away exposing some of the Cambrian Sandstone cliffs, canyons and rock formations.
Note: You must park in the designated parking area and NOT on the street or your vehicle might be towed!
Sign: Open to hiking and other foot travel. CLOSED to Horses, Bicycles, and Motorized Vehicles and NO Fires, Camping, Glass Containers, Trash, Hiking in Closed Areas, Overnight Mooring of Boats on Sand Bars, Pets off Leashes (except actively hunting in season). Hunting is Allowed see additional postings during season…
Dells of the Wisconsin River State Natural Area
Chapel Gorge Trail
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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