Perched on a scenic curve of the St. Croix River, Interstate State Park was Wisconsin's first state park, established in 1900 to join its twin Interstate Park across the river in Minnesota. Intricately sculptured by glacial ice sheets more than 10,000 years ago, both parks' signature feature is the steep-walled gorge through which the St. Croix flows today.
The park boasts three wheelchair accessible trails, allowing people of all ages and abilities to take in its natural beauty and wildlife. Read on to discover the unique features of each trail.
Skyline Nature Trail
The Skyline Nature Trail is a .75-mile loop that begins at the park's Ice Age Interpretive Center. This self-guided nature trail offers information on the park's plant communities, like snowy trillium, cardinal flowers and orange Michigan lilies. As you and your family navigate the path, keep an eye out for the white-tailed deer that frequent the park. You may also spot a (nonvenomous) Western fox snake or some eastern gray squirrels, which can look almost white.
Meandering 1.2 miles one way through a variety of different habitats, the next wheelchair-friendly path at Interstate Park is the gravel-and-grass Silverbrook Trail. Mostly flat, it follows part of an old road that once connected St. Croix Falls and Osceola.
This trek will take you through an old copper mine and the former grounds of the historic Silverbrook Mansion, once reportedly frequented by gangsters. The path ends at the perfect photo-op stop, 18-foot Silverbrook Falls, a seasonal waterfall that's often rushing in spring and after a good rainfall.
Lake O' the Dalles Trail
Finally, the Lake O' the Dalles Trail is a one-mile path that winds around the trail's namesake lake. Its northern end is paved and wheelchair accessible, leading to a wheelchair accessible fishing pier. Grab your fishing gear and try to snag some panfish, northern pike, walleye or largemouth bass. If the fish aren’t biting, challenge your family to spot some of the snapping turtles frequently spotted in the lake.
Cap off your day by grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many wheelchair accessible restaurants in St. Croix Falls. Loggers Sports Bar and Grill offers hamburgers, pizzas, sandwiches and daily specials, while the Dalles House is the place for fancier fare, such as beef tournedos, fettuccini alfredo or citrus cream champagne scallops. No matter where you end up, raise a glass to toast a welcoming day for all in Wisconsin’s great outdoors.
Keep the fun going and explore more wheelchair accessible fun in Wisconsin’s state parks!