For the start of my Camp Wisconsin Series I’m going with somewhere very near and dear to me and is part of the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve, Mill Bluff State Park. My childhood was filled with days spent at Mill Bluff camping or going to the beach with our Aunt, Uncle and cousins. Ah how we all miss those days and the simplicity they brought. Even after childhood years upon years of memories have been made here. It was our go to spot when young and free, where we took our first pregnancy board picture, where Phoenix swung outside for the first time, burned his poor little finger for the first time, where we camped through what became historic flooding for the area. To this day my family and I still visit Mill Bluff quite frequently during the summer to go swimming and every so often camp a weekend there and I’m sure what I have come to see as a tradition will continue for many more years to come.
Mill Bluff is in Monroe county located of Highway 12 just shortly before Camp Douglas and being on the smaller end of Wisconsin state parks with only 21 campsites it often gets overlooked but with a beach, playground and hiking trails all in one small area its perfect for families. Being so small it’s only a one loop campground which means no getting lost in this one. The only things that may be a downfall to some people are they only have pit toilets, no showers, hand pump water only, dogs are not allowed in beach, picnic areas or on nature trail and you can hear the interstate. If non of that scared you away I suggest you continue on down the page.
Camping – 21 sites available, 6 being standard electric. Electric sites are $26 per night and non electric is $16 per night. You can reserve online, pay at park to the ranger if present or self pay. They do offer only a few first come only sites which is always good if planning a spur of the moment trip, keep that in mind for most parks.
3 Hiking Trails totaling about 2 miles can be enjoyed here.
- Mill Bluff Summit. This is the most popular one and a good workout. 223 stone steps lead you to the top for a wonderful view off the observation deck of the surrounding bluffs that also has a bench for enjoying the view and provides history of the area which is always worth a read. I have hiked this trail way to many times to count and enjoy it every time especially the sunsets. Access to this trail is right across the road from park.
- Nature Trail. 0.4 mile long self guiding trail arond the base of the bluff with markers along the way teaching about different wildlife, trees and geology.
- Camel’s Bluff Trail. 1.25 mile loop trail that leads you around Camel’s Bluff, Devil’s Monument, and Cleopatra’s Needle. This one is located about a mile up the road from campground. You have to pass over the interstate and it will be on your right with a very small lot to park or if you choose to walk that’s even better. This is worth the effort to see the very picturesque rock formations.
Beach is a 2.5 acre pond that is spring fed and comes with 250 feet of sandy beach. The water is not the clearest but is quite refreshing on a hot summer day. There are changing stations available and a swim at your own risk type. The water level gradually goes up the further out you go and eventually you wont be able to touch and actually have to swim, doggie paddle or float for 10-20 feet give or take depending on recent rainfall. Overall great beach and they water test. Tradition for us was to always swim across to the other side and have our dad throw us up in the air as if he was our diving board. Cant wait till Phoenix gets to that age.
If swimming hasn’t wore the kids completely out the Playground may help. It is very generous for a small park and will entertain the kids for awhile. Mill Bluff also has two shelters available to rent for parties one being by the beach area (partly pictured in pregnancy board pic) and the other across the road. Each one has a grill, tables, hand pump water, toilets and parking available
Overall Mill Bluff State Park has a lot to offer. You do need to have a state park annual sticker or pay the daily fee which is paid by car. If you don’t have time to camp or swim but are passing by the trails would be a great way to quickly stretch your legs.
For more info on this park visit the Wisconsin DNR website.
Reserve America website makes booking campsites a breeze but does have a $9.70 non refundable reservation fee the last time I used it just so you are aware.
Thank you for your interest and follow along. Every Wednesday Ill post about a new place to camp in Wisconsin and every Saturday I share about my 52 Week Hike Challenge and the new place it brought me to hike.