Water Enthusiasts, hunters, hikers, and anyone who enjoys the outdoors will find solace in Buckhorn State Park. Situated within the heart of Southern Wisconsin, this park and an adjacent wildlife reserve showcases over 9,000 acres of unspoiled midwestern wilderness. At the end of the Wisconsin and Yellow Rivers, this park is famous for the large man-made reservoir it occupies. The intensity of nature here is staggering. The park prominently exhibits dense, green wetland forests, exposed prairies, and sand-swept dunes. The sandy landscape found in certain areas are the result of glacial erosion and sand deposits left after the last global Ice Age.
Westward expansion caused massive amounts of damage to the surrounding region. Before European settlers came, the region housed over 4.1 million acres of barren pine and oak forests. Today, less than 10,000 acres remain standing; a stark contrast to the once thriving wonderland. Thankfully much of this acreage is now protected, and serves as a hugely popular area for tourists and visitors to recreate year-round.
The park is most famously known for its large wetland flowage, owing to the poor soil conditions of the region. Subsequently, kayakers and small-craft boaters visit to spot flora and fauna not found anywhere else in the state. The flowage fills just enough every year to accommodate and protect a number of endangered species, including the Karner Blue Butterfly, and the state-threatened Osprey.
Aside from bird watching and unparalleled views of wetland nature, the park also offers up a 300 foot sand beach complete with volleyball nets, picnic shelters, horseshoe pits, and recreation areas perfect to recreate under the sun. Outside of the beach, fishing is one of the most popular attractions, as the slough houses delicious Bluegill, Salmon, and Wisconsin Trout.
Camping in Buckhorn State park is similar to many other state parks. There’s a handful of rustic sites facing west that line the length of the wetland overflow. This is perfect for catching multicolored sunsets that pain nearby water surfaces hues of pink, orange, red, and purple. On the opposite eastern end of the park lies campsites perfect for catching the sunrise, if you’d prefer. There is also a cabin available for reserve, and various bird-blinds for use placed strategically throughout the park. You’ll need a vehicle admission sticker to end, and all Wisconsin Camping and Fishing fees apply.