Roche-A-Cri State Park in Adams County is not one of the more familiar tourist destinations in the state, and Tracy Malkovich, the park ranger, says that's also one of its biggest appeals.
"Yes, yes, it's very peaceful. There's never going to be large crowds and even most weekends you can come in without a reservation."
That makes it the perfect destination for a spur of the moment trip, and there's plenty to do. The picturesque Carter Creek flows through the park and even has some trout fishing. There's also the prairie area, which boasts beautiful wildflowers and nature walks, and everything is within walking distance since the entire park covers only a few miles.
It makes up for its small size vertically with the Roche-A-Cri Mound. It towers 300 feet in the air and Malkovich says it's one of the best reasons to visit the park.
"Just because it's so close to Wausau and it's a beautiful place for day use and the mound is gorgeous and it's very unique to this area."
If you'd like to stay close to the base of the mound, you can see beautiful pictographs drawn by Native Americans hundreds of years ago, but if you're more adventurous, another feature of the park is the Top Of The Rock Trail. It will take you all the way to the peak of Roche-A-Cri Mound; 303 steps later and a little out of breath, you're treated to a breathtaking view where you can see a total of 10 counties and as far as 50 miles away.
Toni Koziol visits the park often and says, "And it's just beautiful, beauty as far as you can see, and we come here for different seasons, every season looks different."
With five miles of trails, 41 campsites and its proximity to places like Wisconsin Dells and Castle Rock Lake, Roche-A-Cri State Park is one of the best kept secrets in Wisconsin and one of the best places to take a trip on a tankful, so here's how to get there:
From Wausau, take 51 South to Highway 21 East, to Highway 13 South. The park is just north of Adams-Friendship. If you'd like to make a reservation, call (608) 339-6881.