WI – New trail opens at state park for year-round public access

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was recently held to open the newest trail at Kinnickinnic State Park. Pictured are David and Joyce Weizenicker (who started the Weizenicker Fund for State Parks), Neal and Carla Butenhoff (who started the Deboer Quiet Trails Fund) and other partners who worked to create the Hidden Falls Trail. (Submitted photo)

Visitors to Kinnickinnic State Park along the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway in Pierce County have an exciting amenity awaiting them on their next visit—a new hiking and snowshoeing trail that will introduce them to a previously inaccessible part of the park.

The Friends of Willow River and Kinnickinnic State Parks hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 27th to commemorate the completion of the Hidden Falls Trail, the first trail to be developed in the southern portion of Kinnickinnic State Park. The two–and-a-half-mile trail now provides year-round public access to the area. Travelers can pass through a variety of landscapes, including open prairie, oak woods and old growth pine, and will be treated to impressive views into the gorge of the Kinnickinnic River, including a glimpse of a waterfall.

The trail was developed with financial support from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, the Willow

River and Kinnickinnic State Parks, and the Friends of Willow River and Kinnickinnic State Parks, Inc.

Two of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s endowment funds provided financial support for the creation of the trail. The Norma & Stanley DeBoer Quiet Trails Fund helps create and maintain walking trails on public lands in Wisconsin and the David & Joyce Weizenicker Fund for State Parks supports projects that facilitate accessibility for senior citizens to Wisconsin’s state parks. The donors, David and Joyce Weizenicker and Neal and Carla Butenhoff, took part in the ceremony and inaugural hike of the newly dedicated trail.

“This new hiking trail will connect people to nature by giving them an opportunity to explore the forest and prairie in this new state park,” said Ruth Oppedahl, executive director of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. “More than ever, the Foundation is providing support for Wisconsin’s state parks, ensuring that Wisconsinites are able to recreate in our state’s incredible natural places.”

The trail has reliable and safe footing, and it will withstand the impact of hikers for many years. It is well-marked, with maps at the trailhead and along its length, as well as directional arrows, distance markers and benches. This project will introduce park users to a new area of the park and allow access by travelers of various abilities.

The Hidden Falls Trail is a result of a partnership between Kinnickinnic State Park, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, the Friends of Willow River and Kinnickinnic State Parks and dedicated volunteers.

“Friends groups provide thousands of volunteer dollars and hours to help support the mission and activities of the Wisconsin state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas,” said Benjamin Bergey, Wisconsin State Parks Director. “We depend upon building and strengthening partnerships such as we have with the Natural Resources Foundation and the Friends of the Willow River and Kinnickinnic State Park. Their combined efforts have shown to be effective to help promote and expand recreation opportunities that leverage and enhance the park and the surrounding economic opportunities for this community.”

To explore this three-mile trail for yourself, travel south on County Road F past the main entrance road to Kinnickinnic State park and turn right on 770 th Ave. In about one-half mile the parking lot will be on your right. The trail has been carefully designed to be sustainable and gentle to explore.

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