Visit all the National Parks in Wisconsin

Visit All The National Parks in Wisconsin

As some of you may already know, both of us grew up in a small farming community in central Wisconsin. Most of our extended family and many of our close friends still call the Badger State home. Our Wisconsin roots mean that the parks here were some of the first ones we visited when we started #parkchasing in 2010.

So, how many national parks are in Wisconsin? Of the more than 400+ units in the National Park Service, there are 2 national parks in Wisconsin and 2 National Scenic Trails.

About Wisconsin’s National Parks

Here are some facts you should know about Wisconsin’s national park units:

  • More than 660,000 people visit the 2 national parks in Wisconsin each year.
  • The parks add more than $70 million in economic benefit to the communities around the state.
  • There are more than 830,000 artifacts, memorabilia and historic objects preserved by the National Park Service museum collections in Wisconsin. Many of them from historic and natural landmarks.
Shoreline of the St. Croix River
Shoreline of the St. Croix River in Wisconsin

Wisconsin National Park Itinerary

We suggest you travel on this route if you plan to visit the 2 national parks in Wisconsin and spend some time on the 2 national scenic trails.

  • Start in Wisconsin’s capitol city, Madison with a morning tour of the state’s historic capitol building (one of our favorites in the United States).
  • Then travel out to the Ice Age National Scenic Trail Visitor’s Center in nearby suburbs. Pick up hiking maps and spend some time logging miles on the more than 1,200 miles of trails in the area near the famous Wisconsin Dells.
  • Next, travel west towards the Mighty Mississippi River until you meet up with the Great River Road. This National Scenic Byway travels 250 miles north along Mississippi River, forming the border of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Some of the state’s best restaurants, historic towns (and the best pie at the Stockholm Pie Company!) can be found along the route. Be sure to stop at one of the lock and dams to explore the history of shipping on the Mississippi.
  • As you continue north, you’ll meet your first National Park Service site at Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. Enjoy a day or two paddling a canoe along some of the most scenic areas of the region.
  • From there, continue to head north towards the southern shores of Lake Superior. Along the way, stop in to hike some miles on the North Country National Scenic Trail. Traveling through seven states from North Dakota to Vermont, the trail covers some of the best hiking in the state. Highlights include Copper Falls State Park and the Chequamegon National Forest.
  • Your final destination is Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, located in the gateway town of Bayfield, WI. Most famous for its mainland sea caves, the 21 islands and 12 miles of protected lakeshore are considered among the top natural resources in the state. Be sure to tour a lighthouse and take a boat cruise out on the lake while you’re there.

Check out this Google Map for details on how you can complete this route:

About the National Parks of Wisconsin

Apostle Islands Ice Caves, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, one of the national parks in Wisconsin
Apostle Islands Ice Caves

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

NPS Website
Location: Bayfield, WI

Along windswept beaches and cliffs, visitors experience where water meets land and sky, culture meets culture, and past meets present. The 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland host a unique blend of cultural and natural resources. Lighthouses shine over Lake Superior and the new wilderness areas. Visitors can hike, paddle, sail, or cruise to experience these Jewels of Lake Superior.

Passport Cancellation Locations

Passport cancellation stamps for the Apostle Islands are located in four locations: The Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, WI; the two Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Visitors Centers in Bayfield and Stockton Island; the Raspberry Island Lighthouse.

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Ice Age National Scenic Trail

NPS Website
Location: Statewide Trail, Headquarters in Madison, WI

A mere 15,000 years ago during the Ice Age, much of North America lay under a huge glacier. Mammoths, saber tooth cats and cave lions roamed the earth! Some of the best evidence of this glacier is found in Wisconsin such as the state’s many lakes, river valleys, gently rolling hills, and ridges. The nearly 1,200 mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail, established in 1980, traces the glacier’s edge.

Passport Cancellation Locations

Passport stamps for the Ice Age Trail are available at multiple locations along the trail. Some popular locations include: Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls, MN; Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, WI; Interstate State Park in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. If your stop includes St. Croix National Scenic River’s Visitor Center, you can also pick up the stamp there.

North Country National Scenic Trail

NPS Website
Location: Seven states including three large sections in Northwestern Wisconsin

Come to the North Country. Trek the hills and valleys. Stand on the shores of lakes & streams from glaciers 10,000 years before. Clear-flowing water, red/gold of autumn, a fairyland of snow, open prairies, and distant horizons paint the land. Historic sites along the way tell how America settled and grew as a nation. From North Dakota to New York (and soon Vermont), adventure is never far away.

Passport Cancellation Locations

North Country National Scenic Trail stamps are available at multiple locations along the trail in Wisconsin. Some popular locations include Pattison State Park, Brule River State Forest, and the Douglas County Forestry Department. If you plan to stop at the Saint Croix National Scenic River Namekagon River Visitor Center, you can also find the stamp there.

St. Croix National Scenic Riverway Visitors Center.  One of the National Parks in Wisconsin
Visitor’s Center – St. Croix National Scenic Riverway

Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

NPS Website
Location: Protects waterways along the St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers. Headquarters in St. Croix Falls, WI

Grab your paddle and your longing for adventure and head to the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers! Together they form the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, offering over 200 miles of clean water that glides and rushes through a forested landscape. Paddle, boat, fish, and camp among this wild and scenic beauty. Hiking and historic towns also beckon, if you can bear to leave the cool water.

Passport Cancellation Locations

Wisconsin shares St. Croix National Scenic Riverway with the bordering state of Minnesota. The stamps can be found at the Namekagon River Visitor Center in Trego, WI, the St. Croix River Visitor Center in St. Croix Falls, WI, and at the Arcola Mills Visitor Center in Stillwater, MN.

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Greg & Amy
Chasing a visit to all 400+ units in the NPS
Current Count: 130/423
Next Stop: @hawaiivolcanoes


1 thought on “Visit All The National Parks in Wisconsin”

  1. Pingback: What You Need to Know About Our Midwest National Trails

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