Beautiful fall weather is starting to arrive here in Wisconsin. This is one of my favorite times of year for hiking with my dog, Glia. The weather is crisp, but not cold. The summer bugs are reducing. And if you time your hike right, the fall leaves are stunning. One of my favorite local places to hike, is Perrot State Park. Why do I love taking my dog hiking at Perrot State Park? Read on to discover some of the great features of this small Wisconsin State Park.
Perrot State Park, Trempealeau County, WI
Perrot State Park is a located where the Trempealeau River meets the Mississippi River. Beautiful 500 foot bluffs have formed at this location, offering gorgeous views of the rivers. The park has a total of 12.5 miles of hiking trails, which is perfect for a great day hike location. The park does also offer camping, canoeing/kayaking, and access to the Great River State Trail for biking.
Taking Dogs Hiking at Perrot State Park
Dogs are allowed on all the trails at Perrot State Park as long as they are on a leash up to 8 feet in length. However, Perrot does groom several trails for cross-country skiing in the winter and pets are not allowed on groomed ski trails.The full list of Wisconsin State Park rules and regulations regarding pets can be found here.
I personally love taking dogs hiking at Perrot State Park for a few reasons. The two main trails (heading up to Brady’s Bluff) can be fairly populated on a nice day, but the back trails are fairly quiet. This allows Glia to leave heel position and take full advantage of her 8 feet of leash. She agrees that this makes for better exploration of the trail.
Additionally, since the park is right along the river, the dogs have a place to cool off on a hot hiking day. The picnic area near the nature center offers easy access to the water for a dog to wade while on leash.
Personally, I think the best views in the park are found on Brady’s Bluff. If you only hike to one spot in the park, hike there. There are two main parking lots that have relatively direct access to Brady’s Bluff – East Brady’s and West Brady’s. East Brady’s is the first parking lot after the park headquarters. West Brady’s also has a boat launch into the river.
It doesn’t really matter which parking you lot you pick, as either way you will be hiking up first. However, the trail from West Brady’s parking lot includes a lot of stairs. Glia and I personally prefer to hike down the stairs and up the switch-backed bluffside.
Our favorite route for a nice half-day hike, is to start at the East Brady’s parking lot and then hike behind Perrot Ridge. The view from Perrot Ridge is nice, but not as nice as Brady’s. Please note, in the winter most of these trails are groomed for skiing. We then come up to Brady’s Bluff from the back (northeast side in this case). As you come up over the ridge, there are stunning views of Trempealeau Bay, the Mississippi River and Minnesota bluffs.
We then head down all the stairs and will walk a little north from the West Brady’s parking lot up to the nature center. The dogs will cool off in the river, and then we will walk along the Riverview Trail back to the East Brady’s parking lot.
Go out and explore for yourself!
However, no matter which trail combination you pick, hiking at Perrot State Park is an enjoyable mix of forest, bluff views, and riverside hiking. Make sure to bring some snacks and clean water for the pup and yourself (along with any other essentials for hiking with your dog ). Also, as a side note, there are very limited garbage cans in Perrot, so make sure you bring an easy way to carry your dog’s waste out of the trails.
Okay readers, it is your turn. What is your favorite state park to explore with your dog?