Camping at Buckhorn State Park: Discover What the Glacier Left Behind

Buckhorn State Park

Buckhorn State Park offers an access point for visitors to experience Wisconsin’s brand of natural beauty firsthand. With shoreline on both the Wisconsin and Yellow river, lovers of swimming and boating have twice the opportunity to get some splashing in. 

Additionally, the park is open for seasonal hunting opportunities. Birders will get the opportunity to check the endangered osprey off of their lists. Campsites can be secluded or communal,electric or rustic, and accessible for the disabled. 

The park is a great place to get away from the every day and discover several ways to stay active. With seasonal hunting, hiking, and cross-country skiing, there are several opportunities to leave the park with a few less calories than when you entered. 

33 of The Best Places To Go Camping in Wisconsin.

Why Visit?

Sunset on Castle Rock Lake in Wisconsin
Sunset on Castle Rock Lake in Wisconsin

Visiting Buckhorn State Park provides the opportunity to becoming a part of some local history. In the early 1800’s this area was a tempting prospect for John Kingston and his associates because of its big white pines. Pine wood was a lucrative commodity, and Kingston’s efforts to capitalize on that created a timbering economy which gave rise to towns such as Germantown and Werner. 

However, the pines were eventually all cut down. The construction of Castle Rock dam caused the Wisconsin and Yellow rivers to repossess the land where Germantown and Werner once stood. This land has been changed by human interaction, and by the presence of a glacier even before that. Since 1974, the Department of Natural Resources has made it so that this location can return to its natural state.    

Osprey
Osprey

Another reason to visit is to enjoy the resurgence of the threatened osprey population. The park features maintained nesting areas for these raptors. Their numbers declined as a result of pesticides such as DDT, but since that has been made illegal the birds are coming back. See if you can observe the distinctive head stripe as one of these sleek fishers retrieves its dinner from the river’s surface. 

Park Activities

Once you get to Buckhorn State Park, you get a chance to unplug from the sea of devices and experience the freedom of the great outdoors. So much of existence in today’s daily life consists of sitting for hours while pointing and clicking. Stepping outside and working those large muscle groups while soaking in scenic vistas and animal sightings is going to go a long way towards reducing stress.  

Observing wildlife:

Marsh Wren
Marsh Wren

The critters are not overly shy here. Keep an eye out for muskrats, herons, coyotes, deer, wild turkeys, and the occasional black bear.

Hunting:

Perhaps you’d like to do more than just watch the wildlife. With a license and in the right season, parts of the park are available for hunting with firearms, bows, and traps. There is a two-story hunting blind which is first come, first served, except for the option for the disabled to reserve it a day in advance. 

Fishing:

Species that visitors have reported catching bass, walleye, perch, and more. There are species for every season, so there’s always the chance of getting a nibble. The park has a fishing pier near the picnic area, as well as a pond for kids to fish on the Turtle trail. When the weather dips below freezing, many also enjoy ice fishing. 

Cross-country skiing:

The flat area in Buckhorn State Park lends itself to this relaxing sport. The park keeps six and a half miles of snowy trail available to slide gently across. Snow shoes and accessible sit-ski are available.

Canoeing, kayaking, and other watercraft:

Canoe and kayak rentals are available. A special kayak is available for people with disabilities.

One fun feature is a self-guided canoe trail for nature enthusiasts to enjoy.
Over an hour to an hour and a half of aquatic relaxation, you can learn more about Wisconsin’s 10 million acres of wetland.   

Check out our guide to canoe camping and even see how canoes are made at Wenonah Canoe.

Hiking:

The park features 11 trails, all under two miles. The Barrens Nature
trail features a climbable observation tower in the middle of the park. Families
can also enjoy a Ranger Rick geocache trail. This is where GPS is used to discover a series of clues hidden on the path

Designed especially for children ages 6-14, this activity can help encourage kids to enjoy the outdoors by incorporating electronics in to the adventure. 

Photo contest:

The pictures you take to remember your visit could just get published in the
newspaper and earn you a $50 gift certificate. The annual contest has categories for plants, wildlife, park goers, and landscapes. There is also a special category for child photographers. 

Gear to Consider Bringing

Everyone needs a hobby, and part of the fun of a hobby is collecting all the associated gadgets and gizmos that go along with it. Camping is no different. Recapture the joy of building forts as a child, except this time the fort can be made of space-aged gortex material. 

Fireproof matches and backpack rain:

cover: Part of the fun of getting back in to nature is proving to yourself that
you can handle anything. One challenge you might be facing is inclement weather.

Learning to secure your camp in the rain can take your mastery of the elements to a new level. 

Tent rug and air mattress:

The beauty of camping can be to see how little equipment you need to provide for your basic needs. However, when bringing the family along, sometimes it’s nice to remember to bring the items that can make your outdoor adventure garnished with a few of the comforts of home.

Remember to customize your experience with just enough bells and whistles to strike that perfect balance between off-the-grid and creature
comfort. 

Wet bag and rain skirt:

At Buckhorn State Park you are well situated to add an amphibious component to your camping experience. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent, but there may be other items you’d like to bring to make your watery fun complete. Nothing makes those campfire hotdogs as delicious as working up an appetite rowing. 

Collapsible dog bowl and doggie backpack:

Pets are allowed in the camping areas, but not in other areas such as the
beaches and trails. If your canine companion is coming along to join the
outdoor fun, make sure you remember to pack everything you need to keep your little (or not so little) friend comfortable while roughing it. 

Camping Accommodations

Camping at Buckhorn State Park

Buckhorn State Park has options for campers. Group, family, and backpack sites are available. 

A group site can have up to 40 people and features toilets, water, horseshoes, and volleyball (available for free checkout). There is RV accessibility,
but no electricity. 

The family campsites each have their own fire site and picnic table. Some sites have electricity. There is a site designed for disabled accessibility. Showers, toilets, and a dumping station are available near the park office. 

Carts are available to help campers transport their gear to the backpacking sites, which offer secluded areas near the water. 

A rustic shelter is also available for use during the day if campers want to cook food indoors. 

An accessible cabin makes sure that disabled persons can be a part of the camping fun. The cabin is near the fishing pier and has room for six. 

Campground Info

Are you ready to take a break from exhaust fumes and deadlines? Could the family do with a bit of teambuilding? Is it time to catch the next fish for you to exaggerate the size of in the re-telling? 

Check out the Buckhorn State Park website to reserve shelters and find more information. 1-888-936-7463 is the number to call to get in touch with the staff between from 7AM to 10PM.  

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