I grew up in Minnesota, 13 years ago went to college in Madison/married a boy from there, and moved back to Minnesota after college. This means that I have driven past Black River Falls State Forest at least 36 times as an adult. It is an excellent halfway point between me and my Wisconsin-dwelling family, so this past weekend was the first time that I’ve actually chosen it as my actual destination.
There are several different sections to this park, and good grief the social media presence of this park is terrible. I’m starting to think that this is because the locals do not want non-locals to come and spoil the charms of the park so they figure that they should just completely ignore improving their website. Anyway, on a whim we wound up at Pigeon Creek campground.
If you look at the map of the park you can see that there is water and beach access, but you don’t really know just how charming it is. The entire time we were there I kept on exclaiming how it was so beautiful in the most retro of ways. You should know that the water is a fun shade of root beer, this is from the trees and mosses leaching into the water(check out my pic of the park sign for a bit more info). The water is tested weekly to make sure that it is safe to swim in. A lot of people had stand up paddleboards and kayaks.
During these pandemic times you need to make sure to buy your pass online or via phone ahead of time. There is no attendant at the little ranger station at the entrance- at this time you couldn’t buy firewood either. Don’t try to pull a quick one on the park service though, because a ranger will come around and inspect your vehicle if you are parked at the picnic area and approach you to find out which vehicle is yours.
This park is rustic and does not offer showers. We came here with no expectations of the campsites, so we were very pleased to find that they are large, mostly packed dirt (many reviews mention heavy TICK populations eek), and offer a good deal of privacy. Sites that I like(check out pics): 204, 205, 234,235, 212,224, and 226.