With nearly 3,000 acres of prairie, forests and panoramic river scenery, LocationWillow River State Park offers year-round recreation opportunities in western Wisconsin. The park is about five miles northeast of Hudson and has a campground, a boat launch and a 400-foot beach and picnic area centered on 172-acre Little Falls Lake.
Activities and recreation:
The park has 13 miles of hiking trails that vary in difficulty. The most popular hiking trail destination is the Willow Falls and the scenic overlooks of the river valley.
Willow River's campground, on the southern shore of Little Falls Lake, is very popular and has one of the highest occupancy rates in the Wisconsin State Park System.
The 300 campground has 70 tent, trailer or motor home sites, flush toilets and showers. The 100 campground has another 50 sites. This new campground has few mature trees and no sites with full shade. The 100 campground can accommodate tents to the largest recreational vehicles.
The campground host site is on the right side of the 300 campground entrance road. The hosts provide information to campers.
Willow River State Park has a group camp with four different areas that can be reserve.
Picnic areas and playgrounds
Tables and grills are available at a variety of locations throughout the park. The largest picnic area is down by the beach. No pets are allowed in the beach picnic area; there is a pet area by the boat launch with tables and grills.
There are three playgrounds at Willow River State Park; in the beach picnic area, in the 100 campground and in the 300 campground. There are also large patches of open grass in the beach picnic area for recreational activities and sports.
Due to the drawdown of Little Falls Lake the swimming beach is unavailable. The Willow River is accessible in many places, however there are no other designated swim areas in the park.
Boating, canoeing and kayaking
Boating, canoeing and kayaking will be impacted for the duration of the drawdown of Little Falls Lake. The entire lake has been drained and the boat launch is closed. While the lake is down, canoe and kayak rentals are not available.
Kayaking opportunities are still available in the river, however kayakers should be aware of changing river conditions and underwater debris. Please avoid the construction area around the dam. Other area lakes and the St. Croix River offer motorized boating opportunities.
Fishing is primarily limited to the river due to the drawdown of the lake. Some warm water species such as panfish, bass and northern can be found below the dam. The Willow River is stocked with trout and fishing is available both above and below the lake bed. Trout fishing is likely best upstream of the waterfall.
Hunting and trapping
Hunting and trapping are allowed in the open areas of the park during the Wisconsin state parks hunting and trapping time frame. Trapping is not permitted in closed areas as noted on the park hunting map or within 100 yards of any designated use area, including trails. Certain trap types are restricted on state park properties.
The park has two miles of hard packed trails on the north side of the river available for pet owners and for activities like snowshoeing, dog sledding and hiking. The park’s nine miles of cross-country ski trails on the south side of the river are groomed and tracked by volunteers for skate and traditional stride style skiing. The Nature Center classroom is opened for use as a warming house from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Other winter activities include sledding, ice fishing and camping.
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