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Gays Mills, WISCONSIN

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Ranger review- Midland Radio at Governor Dodge

What a fun weekend we had a Governor Dodge State Park! There were a total of 19 of us in our group, spread out over 8 sites in the Twin Valley Campground (240, 255, 256, 257, 261, 265, 266, & 267) We had a mixture of electric and non electric sites and all were very nice. The first weekend in October can sometimes be a little iffy weather wise, but we lucked out with pretty warm temperatures. We got quite a bit of rain on Saturday, but none of the sites had issues with flooding like we experienced in the spring at site 269. We walked down to that site and it looked like they had fixed the drainage pipe so the flooding there was not as bad as the previous trip. Bathrooms/showers were warm and clean, and the vault toilets were not bad although there were a few spiders. The Stevens Falls and Canyon Trails were the highlight of the trip- even in the rain! First you can explore the old spring house and read the informational signs about the family that used to farm there and other early settlers in the area. Once you continue down to the falls they have another informational plaque about the falls with old pictures, but unfortunately this plaque was not as well maintained so it’s difficult to see. The falls themselves are amazing. There is a slippery uneven staircase to go down, but there is a sturdy handrail. We spent quite a bit of time walking around and looking behind the falls, then continued down the canyon trail enjoying the beauty. Unfortunately the rain and wind picked up so we decided to turn around instead of completing the 3 mile loop. We also took a hike on the bluff trail that goes past campsite 271 that everyone enjoyed- awesome moss everywhere! Some members of our group took the trail to the amphitheater, but said while it was a pretty walk there wasn’t anything too special along the way. We went through a lot of firewood- the bags at the park office were $5 and were pretty decent. We also purchased wood from the trailer next to the Don Q inn for $5 an armful, but it was rather wet. We noticed when we drove past Jumping Jupiter General Store that they also had wood (covered by a tarp) but did not stop so I’m unsure of the prices. We stopped at Kate’s Bait and got a nice variety of worms for a reasonable price, although we never got out fishing! The ranger was very helpful in suggesting places to fish though. We had planned on doing a trail ride on horseback through the park at Doby Stables, but unfortunately it was cancelled by them due to the rain. As a ranger for The Dyrt, I sometimes receive products to test. This trip I had the Midland EX210VP E+Ready Bundle that includes 2 X-Talker two way radios and an Emergency Compact Crank Radio. https://midlandusa.com/product/ex210vp-eready-bundle/ I was impressed by both products right away. They are compact, yet sturdy- we’ve had them over a month now and my 4 year old and 6 year old have played with them a lot and they still look brand new! I’ve never really used a two way radio that wasn’t a toy, and the instructions from Midland were easy to understand. I appreciated that you could either use AAA batteries or the included USB rechargeable battery, which lasted the whole weekend. Midland states the range is 26 miles (obstruction free) but we didn’t try it that far- the farthest we tried was about a mile away through the trees but we were still able to hear each other clearly. There is also a weather radio feature that would come in handy if you didn’t have a separate weather radio. The emergency compact crank radio is a solid product as well. We used this all weekend, for weather alerts, listening to music, charging phones, and as a flashlight. It has a rechargeable 2000 mAh battery that can be charged via USB, solar, or hand crank. Battery seemed to last a long time, even when charging phones or playing the radio for a long stretch. The radio will not play when you are charging something, but that wasn’t a big deal to us. The weather alert was nice to have while in the woods during a storm- really reassured the less seasoned campers that we would be ok during the rainstorm. When there is severe weather the radio will make a noise and flash the light so you can be prepared. You can press any button on the radio to turn the noise off and turn on the radio to hear the weather. Overall we were very happy with this bundle.

Ranger review- Midland Radio at Governor Dodge

What a fun weekend we had a Governor Dodge State Park! There were a total of 19 of us in our group, spread out over 8 sites in the Twin Valley Campground (240, 255, 256, 257, 261, 265, 266, & 267) We had a mixture of electric and non electric sites and all were very nice. The first weekend in October can sometimes be a little iffy weather wise, but we lucked out with pretty warm temperatures. We got quite a bit of rain on Saturday, but none of the sites had issues with flooding like we experienced in the spring at site 269. We walked down to that site and it looked like they had fixed the drainage pipe so the flooding there was not as bad as the previous trip. Bathrooms/showers were warm and clean, and the vault toilets were not bad although there were a few spiders. The Stevens Falls and Canyon Trails were the highlight of the trip- even in the rain! First you can explore the old spring house and read the informational signs about the family that used to farm there and other early settlers in the area. Once you continue down to the falls they have another informational plaque about the falls with old pictures, but unfortunately this plaque was not as well maintained so it’s difficult to see. The falls themselves are amazing. There is a slippery uneven staircase to go down, but there is a sturdy handrail. We spent quite a bit of time walking around and looking behind the falls, then continued down the canyon trail enjoying the beauty. Unfortunately the rain and wind picked up so we decided to turn around instead of completing the 3 mile loop. We also took a hike on the bluff trail that goes past campsite 271 that everyone enjoyed- awesome moss everywhere! Some members of our group took the trail to the amphitheater, but said while it was a pretty walk there wasn’t anything too special along the way. We went through a lot of firewood- the bags at the park office were $5 and were pretty decent. We also purchased wood from the trailer next to the Don Q inn for $5 an armful, but it was rather wet. We noticed when we drove past Jumping Jupiter General Store that they also had wood (covered by a tarp) but did not stop so I’m unsure of the prices. We stopped at Kate’s Bait and got a nice variety of worms for a reasonable price, although we never got out fishing! The ranger was very helpful in suggesting places to fish though. We had planned on doing a trail ride on horseback through the park at Doby Stables, but unfortunately it was cancelled by them due to the rain. As a ranger for The Dyrt, I sometimes receive products to test. This trip I had the Midland EX210VP E+Ready Bundle that includes 2 X-Talker two way radios and an Emergency Compact Crank Radio. https://midlandusa.com/product/ex210vp-eready-bundle/ I was impressed by both products right away. They are compact, yet sturdy- we’ve had them over a month now and my 4 year old and 6 year old have played with them a lot and they still look brand new! I’ve never really used a two way radio that wasn’t a toy, and the instructions from Midland were easy to understand. I appreciated that you could either use AAA batteries or the included USB rechargeable battery, which lasted the whole weekend. Midland states the range is 26 miles (obstruction free) but we didn’t try it that far- the farthest we tried was about a mile away through the trees but we were still able to hear each other clearly. There is also a weather radio feature that would come in handy if you didn’t have a separate weather radio. The emergency compact crank radio is a solid product as well. We used this all weekend, for weather alerts, listening to music, charging phones, and as a flashlight. It has a rechargeable 2000 mAh battery that can be charged via USB, solar, or hand crank. Battery seemed to last a long time, even when charging phones or playing the radio for a long stretch. The radio will not play when you are charging something, but that wasn’t a big deal to us. The weather alert was nice to have while in the woods during a storm- really reassured the less seasoned campers that we would be ok during the rainstorm. When there is severe weather the radio will make a noise and flash the light so you can be prepared. You can press any button on the radio to turn the noise off and turn on the radio to hear the weather. Overall we were very happy with this bundle.

Rustic but in need of updates

This is a privately owned campground and is in need of some updates. The bathrooms are kind of nasty and the whole area had a rundown feeling.

If you are passing through and just need a cheap place for the night, you could do worse… I doubt that I will stay here again.

Gnats!!!

Campground itself is nice and the bathrooms/showers are good enough. The big issue is the gnats. Was camping there in early July and literally could not be outside the tent at all due to the wicked number of these things. We even had our thermacells out and that did nothing to deter.

Camping for years hands down the best for hiking & exploring

This is my favorite place to camp, two lakes to canoe or paddle boat on. Beautiful waterfall, awesome hiking. The campsite are wooded and more private than many places I have been. October November less people no bugs and beautiful fall foliage, plus a fire feels good that time of year. Highly recommend!

Spectacular Views!

On top of the bluffs looking over the Mississippi River, this campground offers everything you need.  Plentiful showers and bathrooms, amazing views, canoe rentals, and most importantly…….RECYCLING.  I have been there 3 times and will definitely go back again.

Wonderful campground

We have been coming to red barn every year for past 9 years. The sites are very spacious and easy getting into for RV's/campers. Price is very reasonably priced. The creek adds to the wonderful scenery. Highly recommended.

Nothing crazy special, well kept sites

I was there on a Monday and was the only tent around. Site 15 is the best for tent sites, it’s right at the delta of where two streams meet. It’s a quick bike ride to pulpit rock brewing and other parks.

Beautiful walk-in campsite, great trails

I stayed here for two nights in September. Site 271 was just enough of a walk to feel remote but not so far that I couldn't carry all my stuff. I did have to walk quite close to one of the other walk-in campsites when going to my car, however, so know that if there are other people in the sites nearby, you will see them. The sites close to the road are not private at all. Water is available at drinking fountains/spigots around the campsite. One I tried had barely a trickle but the other one had plenty of water pressure. The bathhouse was fairly clean and had hot showers, which was great after a 10-mile hike one day. I hammock camp, so getting a site with good trees for hammocking is important to me. I appreciated the preview photos on the state's reservation system. The site I picked had lots of great options for hammock hanging! 

The trails at Governor Dodge are amazing. I left on foot from my campsite and hiked the Meadow Valley, Lost Canyon, Stephens Falls and Goldmine trails. Lost Canyon was BEAUTIFUL and had so many interesting geographical features. The trails behind the hike-in campsites also lead to some cliffs with some really amazing views.

Tiny Campsites

The campsites are the smallest I’ve ever seen, everyone coming in remarked on how small they are. No privacy, the sites are very close together. We went the end of August during the week so thankfully there weren’t many people there. Firewood is cut up pallets for $6 a bundle. A couple of the hiking trails are really nice and the creek is absolutely beautiful.

Hike in Site - totally worth it!

Camped at the furthest out hike-in (this may have been a cart-in but we hiked it in - can't recall). Nice site on a small quite creek. Good space between you and the next campsite so you felt privacy.

Breathtaking views

Clean and organized camping. Quiet and everyone was respectful.

Beautiful View of the Mississippi River

The site we chose (41) was set back from the road a bit, and the tall ground cover provides some privacy. However, the main road to the campground and picnic area runs behind the site and can get busy during the day.

The firewood onsite is reasonably priced and stored in a shed, so it's dry as can be. Dont pick up wood in Cassville… it's low quality and was damp the day we visited.

The flush toilets and showers were clean, and the showers have been recently remodeled. The showers are free, too, which was a welcome change over the campgrounds we've visited in the past.

The most unexpected and negative thing about this campground was the nearby trains. There are trains running nearby with blaring horns 24 hours a day. Train horns nearly on the half-hour did not make for a restful night. 

The views of the Mississippi are incredible, and the park is well-maintained, but I would honestly recommend this as a day trip stop rather than a campground.

Beauty on the Bluff

Wyalusing State Park is a lovely, peaceful park and camp ground perched on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers. The camping facilities when we visited were accessible, clean, and well maintained. There are campsites that hug the edge of the bluff and offer stunning views of the Mississippi and river valley below, and sites offer both electric and non-electric options. While there are no swimming pools or structured activities for families while we visited (early August during the week) there were plenty of accessible trails, a playground, canoe/kayak rental and launch site, and tennis courts/sand pits, etc. The bathrooms and showering facilities were very clean. There is a small store that sells concessions, firewood and ice, and even sold us a single stick of butter when we needed some for our cookout.

Beautiful

Absolutely BEAUTIFUL campground!!

Clean

Very nice, clean campground with a lot of amenities. Tent camping on the river was neat, but tents were very close together due to the small sites

So.much.fun.

We stayed over memorial weekend with a group of friends. With 2 swimming pools, daily activities, movies, and a full ice cream shop you won’t be bored here. The owners were super friendly and helpful. If you’re looking to escape into nature, this is not your park. If you want full hook ups and a summer camp family experience, this is great. Our kiddo had so much fun at the pools, the top one is very large and new with a splash pad area. The lower pool is older and smaller, and where grown ups tend to go for a dip. The sites are split between full timer seasonal sites and daily campers. The site are all level, have a fire pit and picnic table. They are pretty open, so you’re close to you neighbors and little shade or privacy. All RVs here, some tents as overflow for kiddos whose parents are staying in the RV. Kind of pricey, but it’s worth the money for all the extras you get. Super easy back ins, plenty of space for extra cars or shade tents on the site. In the evening there was a Glow Parade where the full timers decked out their golf carts and drove around- candy for kids and lots of dancing. Bingo, tie dye, outdoor movies, and other relay races kept the kids happy and adults amused. Sunday night a jimmy buffet cover band played. A lot of fun and we’ve already booked for next year.

Great stay!

Great campground and great owners! Just when you think it can’t get any better it does! We were seasonal camper for 4 years and went back for a week this year 2019! We had a blast! There is plenty to do here and it’s close to many other activities. They have a pool for a cooling dip in the summer heat. Run across the road and they have a pond for fishing or for the kids a huge floating play ground! Golf in nearby towns and just 30 mins away from the Dells.

Star Gazing

I grew up in the city and have rarely gone camping far from medium or large cities. When I looked up at the sky the first night here, I was astonished by how many stars were visible. I believe there is an observatory on the grounds, but I did not visit it. I think I will return in the future with my families telescope, some star charts, and a compass.

Great place

This is a very clean and quiet campground with excellent trails and very clean bathrooms

Excellent place to camp

Very nice park. Quiet and clean.

Inner city camping

The campsite was in the middle of the neighborhood but was very convenient if the river was too high for camping on the sandbars weren’t available. Hook ups for electrical if needed and restrooms and showers. Perfect setup if dropped upstream for your river trip.

Very nice place . Quiet and very clean . Sites are big and not crowded

Excellent place to stay. Our favorite place to camp

Beyond awesome, will satisfy your inner spirit.

Beautiful sites, hosts are wonderful.

Bliss in the middle of the country

In the middle of the country, in a tiny town called Brownsville, you'll find a little slice of awesome in the form of a hobby farm with campsites, a cabin, and oh ya…the remnants of an old brewery! Patty and Michelle are nothing less than hospitable, knowledgable and gracious.

Shady Rest Acres is owned and run by two women who are nothing less than the the perfect example of what property owners/business owners should be. Beyond being kind, their property is clean, tidy, beautiful yet rustic and home to so many animals that are all exceptionally well cared for. They have donkeys, Scottish Highland cows (a family of them), sheep, goats, chickens (and they'll even pick the bugs off your car), bees, horses, ducks, cats and dogs (I hope I didn't miss anything!). You have to be "pet friendly" if you stay here, because the the chickens roam, the dogs make friends and the cats meander, just as cats tend to do. If you want to meet the barnyard critters, please only look at them from the outside of the fence unless guided and escorted by the owners.  They are happy to let you meet them with their presence. 

There are 2 campsites, if you wish.  One is in the middle of the pasture (that's right…near the goats) They will pen up the larger animals if you stay at that site, but it's perfect for stargazing!  The other is nestled in the woods.  Both have fire pits and access to wood. There is an outdoor shower, if you wish, and also a composting toilet.  But there is also access to an indoor bathroom and shower inside the main house.  The cabin is delightfully lovely with beautiful decor, two full sized beds, space for a few kids to crash, small kitchen items (microwave, mini fridge, coffeemaker) as well as a wood stove for cool nights and some A/C for warm days.  The cabin is attached to the main house by way of a small deck (although the cabin is free standing, but sitting above the garage). And some local beverages in the fridge! You will have access to the deck chairs and gas grill, if you want to cook some dinner. For potty stops, you'll have to use the bathroom inside their home, but it's very close and private, as they have another one that they use when guests are staying the night. 

At no time did we feel like we were invading Patty and Michelle's space, nor did they invade ours.  It was extremely comfortable, and I thought that we could have asked any question without silly looks and even participated in chores, and we would have been welcome to do so. Even though it rained while we were there, it seemed to be just perfect. Beyond the obvious, they are earth conscious, eco friendly in many ways and fully aware of their food sources, which is one reason why they raise their own food.  So they know where it comes from and how it was treated.  I love it. 

This is rustic slice of hospitality is not only peaceful, but friendly, warm and comforting as well as therapeutic.  Just what the soul ordered.

Good for light/bike camping

This is a walk-in campground intended for very light camping, particularly for those biking the Elroy-Sparta or Lacrosse Trails, as it is right on the Elroy-Sparta trail and only a 10 minute bike ride into the town of Sparta. We are a family of 4 that camped from Friday through Sunday while we attended a swim meet in Sparta. We had site 3 (103 on the DNR campground map), which was about a 600 yard hike in from the parking lot, down a trail that can get quite muddy, especially during rain (which it did while we were breaking camp). Some of the sites are even further down the trail. The site was small, but we did manage to fit a 4-person tent, two 2-person tents, a screen-house, and 5 bikes. I was advised by our camp neighbor that their site was equally small. Water, trash, and bathroom access was great and clean. No noise from other campers, and there was even a boy scout troop on site while we were there. The most disappointing factor for me was the highway noise. I had read about that from another reviewer, and it was indeed bad, all weekend long. I had to wear noise-cancelling headphones to drown out the noise in order to sleep. So, it is a great site for someone biking in and/or carrying a very light load into the campsite and, I would say (only because of the highway noise), if there are no other camping options. I should mention that although there are no showers here, I saw that the Sparta Aquatic Center (10 minute bike ride) allows shower access for $3 (at time of this review). Also, the Sparta Family Restaurant is a great place to eat, having good food, service, and prices.

Beautiful Views

Some of the spots are a little uneven. Bring some leveling devices. This a very peaceful campground. Fire rings are on cement. Can find fire starters everywhere. No bugs in the 1st of June when we were there. Will plan on going back for sure. Reserve your spots cuz they go fast. If you love a great view and the smell of the outdoors this is your place!

Decorah’s Best

As Luther College alumni, hubby and I have been coming here for years. The location is perfect, scenic and with lots of recreational opportunities close by…hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing, etc. Grounds and facilities are clean and well maintained. Truly an idyllic spot.

A very decent state park

2 camping areas, Homestead and Wisconsin Ridge.

Homestead provides secluded, wooded sites with a good distance between them.

Ridge sites have the veiw from high over the Wisconsin River. That view will cost you though: the sites are are very close to each other with little vegatative separation.

There are many burial mounds in the park, and there is an astronomical observatory on site. The only water access that we found was a boat landing on the Mississippi side. High water prevented us from exploring it much.