Willow River State Park

After spending a night at our friends’ place, we headed to Willow River State Park in Wisconsin for a hike. Considering the terrible driving condition, staying overnight was a wise choice because the evening rain turned icy, followed by multiple inches of snow accumulation. We tried to decide between this state park and Fort Snelling State Park. We chose the earlier one after seeing the impressive pictures of Willow Falls.

The morning drive was treacherous. We could not locate the road to the trailhead’s parking lot because most roads were still unplowed in the park. After circling the area twice, we parked in one of the campgrounds before hiking one mile to the trailhead. We eventually found out the trailhead’s parking lot was literally by the main road outside the state park. However, Google Maps redirected us to the park. So, instead of hiking our planned 3.5-mile Burkhardt Trail, we walked the most scenic part of that trail before taking another route back to our parked car.

Nevertheless, we still managed to hike 3.1 miles for 2 hours on a beautiful windless day. The overnight snowfall undoubtedly created a pristine scenery in the park. The Willow Falls was indeed awe-inspiring. Many visitors, including us, marveled at the strong current and size of the waterfall in the gorge.

Curly fries.
The ice and snow covered Willow Falls, surrounded by a 200-foot dolostone gorge.
Planned hike (in yellow) vs actual hike (in red).

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