When craving the solace of the outdoors, with enough room to breathe and keep a social distance, the Driftless can offer you the outdoor fun you love with the space you need. Be sure to check ahead for park hours.
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Picnicking in Sidie Hollow
The Driftless Region’s parks offer some of the best views and experiences of Driftless Wisconsin, and a great way to take in the surroundings and enjoy the spaces is by going for a picnic. Sidie Hollow in Viroqua, Wisconsin is a beautiful Driftless park with plenty of options for picnicking and other recreational activities. Pack a delicious lunch or a few of your favorite snacks and sit at one of the two picnic shelters to enjoy your spread with a view of the lake. You can also pick a spot anywhere on the park’s huge green space, set up a picnic blanket and soak up the sun while snacking. Sidie Hollow also features a campsite, cold water trout streams, fishing piers, two playgrounds, and almost ten miles of hiking and biking trails if you want to make a day or weekend of it.
Where to begin? Being a popular campground and park in Viroqua, it is best to plan ahead for your visit! If you want to get a nice spot at one of the shelters, an early lunch might be the best option before the park gets busy. Also, campers should reserve in advance to be sure they have a spot for the weekend.
Kickapoo Valley Reserve
The Kickapoo Valley Reserve is 8,600 acres of public land between La Farge and Ontario in the Driftless Region. The reserve is a great place to explore the Driftless outdoors and learn about the area at the Visitor Center located in La Farge, as well as have a great picnic. The Kickapoo Valley Reserve allows visitors to picnic anywhere they would like on the property, so you could combine hiking with your picnicking and see as much of the reserve as you wish. However, the Visitor Center also has an area for picnic tables and a deck with tables and benches that offers scenic views of the Kickapoo Valley. You can also explore the inside of the center and learn about the reserve through interactive displays and exhibits.
Where to begin? Make sure to pack sunscreen, bug spray, and a nice picnic blanket or hammock if you plan on hiking for the perfect picnic spot to fully enjoy this large area. The Visitor Center can also be reserved for large groups or special events.
Sugar Creek Park & Campground
If you’re planning a picnic with a large group, the Sugar Creek Park & Campground in Ferryville is a good option. Located right off the Great River Road, the Sugar Creek Park & Campground offers two picnic shelters with tables, restrooms, and a playground, as well as a small campground for anyone who would like to camp. The area has plenty of green space for blanket picnics as well or to set up lawn chairs or games, and the kids will have a blast running around and playing on the playground. Advanced reservations for the shelters can be set up for families or groups and is recommended if you will have a large group.
Where to begin? Contact the Ferryville Village Clerk-Treasurer to reserve a shelter for large groups. Then be sure to pack all your chairs, games, balls, and of course food, for a great day of picnicking and fun.
Hogback Prairie State Natural Area
Given that Hogback Prairie is a State Natural Area, there are no formally designated areas for picnicking or hiking. But you are more than welcome to explore the natural area on your own and find the perfect spot to put down a picnic blanket or set up a hammock and snack on a treat or lunch. If you’re worried about bugs or other critters getting into your food, then it might be a good idea to bring your hammock for a worry free picnic experience. Hogback Prairie offers stunning views of the Driftless Region and is a unique geological formation with its narrow, steep-sided limestone capped ridge that rises above the Citron Valley, making it a great place for those who enjoy exploring, hiking, and picnicking. Remember to leave the area as it was when you arrived, leaving no trace of trash or food behind.
Where to begin? A great spot to picnic is on top of Hogback Prairie above the valley for the best views and an open green area. You will have to hike to get to the top and there are no officially designated trails, so be sure to wear the correct footwear and gear, bring bug repellent, and only pack what you need!
Wildcat Mountain State Park and Wyalusing State Park are great places for a picnic because of the views, the proximity to rivers, and the number of options for picnic areas and shelters. Wildcat Mountain State Park offers an upper picnic area, lower picnic area, and the Ice Cave Trail parking lot picnic area, including facilities like a playground, restrooms, a grill, and a drinking fountain. Wyalusing State Park also has a lot of options for picnickers with Green Cloud Shelter, Homestead Shelter, Henneger Point Picnic Shelter, The Peterson Shelter, and Point Lookout Shelter. Most of the shelters can be found near hiking trails and are great stopping points while you are exploring each area of the park.
Where to begin? View a map of the park to get an idea of where all the shelters and picnic areas are located. Then you can choose where you would like to picnic, if you’re going to do any hiking, and what the best trail route is to reach your destination.