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Roche-A-Cri State Park

Panoramic view from atop Roche-A-Cri Mound in Roche-A-Cri State Park

Roche-A-Cri State Park

In 1937 the Wisconsin State Highway Commission acquired Roche-A-Cri as a roadside area; a 300-foot-wide strip on each side of State Highway 13. While the property was controlled by the Highway Commission, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from the Necedah Camp did considerable work here. The property was transferred to the Conservation Commission and established as a state park in 1948.

Roche-A-Cri State Park has the only interpreted rock art site in Wisconsin. The accessible ramp and observation deck allow all visitors to view the petroglyphs and pictographs. The rock art consists of a number of stylized birds, bird tracks, and other bird symbols. One painting depicts a connection between a human and a thunderbird. Roche a Cri Mound also has numerous more recent carvings, from the mid-1800s to the 1950s.

Two State Natural Areas – Roche A Cri Mound (25 acres) and Roche A Cri Woods (442 acres) are within the Park. In addition there are more than six miles of hiking trails at Roche-A-Cri State Park. These include:

  1. stairway to top of Roche-a-Cri Mound

    stairway to top of Roche-a-Cri Mound

    Mound trail and stairway (0.3 miles) – connecting the Acorn trail to a hand pump, the kiosk area, and the stairway to the top of the mound. The stairway to the top of the 300-foot Roche-A-Cri mound is one of the highlights of the Park and offers spectacular views. The stairway is open from 6 a.m. to sunset. Visitors must stay on the trails, stairway and on top of the mound to help to protect the sensitive natural vegetation and wildlife habitats of the Roche-a-Cri Natural Area.

  2. Carter Creek within Roche-a-Cri State Park is a trout stream

    Carter Creek within Roche-a-Cri State Park is a trout stream

    Spring Peeper trail (0.25 miles) – is named for the small frogs that abound in this area of the Park. The trail goes through mature oak and maple woods adjacent to Carter Creek. Brown and brook trout and a variety of panfish can be caught in Carter Creek. [Note: Wisconsin fishing licenses apply]. In season, visitors see dragonflies, swallowtail butterflies, nesting birds, marsh marigolds, Turk’s-cap lilies and cardinal flowers. The trail may be closed during high water.

  3. Acorn trail (3.5 miles) – makes a meandering circle around the entire Roche-A-Cri Mound. This wide mowed trail is used for cross-country skiing in winter.
  4. Turkey Vulture trail (0.9 miles) – branches off the Acorn trail. The Turkey Vulture trail leads through pine, oak and maple woods and out onto a restored prairie. This is the best place to watch the vultures soaring between Roche-A-Cri and the Friendship Mound a half mile to the south. [Note: the birds are most active between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.]
  5. Chickadee Rock trail (0.3 miles) – this accessible trail with a crushed gravel base follows a game path through oaks and jack pines. There are six interpretive signs along the trail. Blueberry and huckleberry bushes and various ferns grow along the trail. Chickadee Rock is a rock formation that rises about 25 to 30 feet above the trail. A bench near the base of the rock is a nice place to rest and listen to the sounds of the surrounding woods.

The Park has a family campground open late spring to early fall. The campground has four electric sites, two walk-in tent sites, one tent-only campsite, and 33 rustic camping sites that can accommodate trailers or tents. All but three can be reserved. One site is accessible to people with disabilities and has electricity available. The accessible site has a hard surface pad with a grill next to the tent area, and an asphalt path to the toilet.

There are three picnic areas in the park; near the office, near the mound stairway and by the Chickadee Rock trail head. A picnic shelter, which can be reserved, is near the mound stairway. The main picnic shelter area has a paved picnic pad with an accessible grill by the office parking area and is accessible for people with disabilities. There is play equipment at the park office picnic area, in the campground, and at the kiosk area.

Source: WDNR

Destination Information

1767 State Highway 13
Friendship WI 53934

Phone: 608-339-6881 (summer)
608-565-2789 (off-season)

Website: DNR Web Page

Size: 460 acres

County: Adams County

Property Managed By: DNR

Google Map Directions (opens new window)

Driving Directions: The main entrance to the Park is about 1.5 miles north of Friendship on State Highway 13, on the west side of the highway. During winter, the main entrance is closed and visitors should park in the lot on the north side of Czech Avenue, west of Highway 13.

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