Perrot State Park, where the Trempealeau River meets the Mississippi River, offers breathtaking views from 500-foot bluffs. The river bank and surrounding wetlands provide wonderful habitat for the many migratory birds that travel through this area twice a year. Unique to southwestern Wisconsin and Perrot are the goat prairies perched high on the bluffs. The park is open year-round from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
How did the park get its name?
When donating the land to the State of Wisconsin, John Latsch asked that the new park be named after Nicholas Perrot, a French explorer who was one of the first Europeans in the upper Mississippi River valley. A trapper and fur trader, Perrot helped develop trade and forged treaties with many tribes that lived here.
While working his way up the Mississippi River in the fall of 1685, Perrot and his men needed to find a place for a winter camp. Perrot’s group chose a place where there was plenty of wood to build, was surrounded by bluffs to protect them from the winter winds and had large prairies where game was abundant. The site was near the confluence of the Trempealeau and Mississippi rivers. They stayed in this campsite for the winter of 1685-1686, moving up the river in the spring.
This would not be the only time the French used the area. In 1732, a French fort was built on Perrot’s winter camp and was used until 1737. Today, the approximate location of Perrot’s first camp is recognized with an historical marker near the park’s entrance.
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