- Natural areas
- Contact information
- For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
- Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist
Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Baxter's Hollow (No. 82)
Sauk County. T10N-R5E, Sections 1, 2. T10N-R6E, Sections 4, 5. T11-5E, Sections 35, 36. T11N-R6E, Sections 17, 19, 20, 21, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 33. 4,131 acres.
Baxter's Hollow features a scenic gorge cut through Baraboo quartzite by Otter Creek, a fast, clear, nearly undisturbed stream flowing over the large quartzite boulders. Although it supports trout, Otter Creek is better known for its diverse and unique aquatic insect fauna including at least 78 species of caddisfly. Cold air drainage has permitted a white pine dominated forest to persist near the stream. Understory species on the boulder-strewn slopes are large-leaved aster, marginal wood fern, partridgeberry, sweet cicely, witch hazel, and squawroot. Most of the site, though, contains a significant portion of the Big Woods, the largest intact contiguous southern dry-mesic forest in Wisconsin with red and white oak, hickory, and basswood. In spring, the forest floor is blanketed with a wide variety of colorful flowers including spring-beauty, Jacob's-ladder, trillium, hepatica, shooting-star, dog-tooth violet, and marsh marigold. The large expanse of woods provides critical habitat for many rare bird species that require large forested tracts including the state endangered worm-eating warbler (Helmitheros vermivorus) and state threatened Kentucky (Oporornis formosus) and hooded warbler (Wilsonia citrina). The combined effects of microclimate and different communities have allowed a wide diversity of species to flourish here: 39 mammals, 92 breeding birds, 13 amphibians, and 18 reptile species. Baxter's Hollow is owned by The Nature Conservancy and was designated a State Natural Area in 1970.
From the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and State Highway 78 in Sauk City, go west on Highway 12 7.6 miles, then west on County Highway C 1.4 miles, then north on Stones Pocket Road 2+ miles to one of the parking areas along the road. Access also from the north via Forest Drive.
For available hunting opportunities, visit The Nature Conservancy's website: The Nature Conservancy.
Baxter's Hollow is owned by:
- The Nature Conservancy
The DNR's state natural areas program is comprised of lands owned by the state, private conservation organizations, municipalities, other governmental agencies, educational institutions and private individuals. While the majority of SNAs are open to the public, access may vary according to individual ownership policies. Public use restrictions may apply due to public safety, or to protect endangered or threatened species or unique natural features. Lands may be temporarily closed due to specific management activities. Users are encouraged to contact the landowner for more specific details.
The data shown on these maps have been obtained from various sources, and are of varying age, reliability, and resolution. The data may contain errors or omissions and should not be interpreted as a legal representation of legal ownership boundaries.
Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for a variety of recreational activities as indicated below. Generally, there are no picnic areas, restrooms, or other developments. Parking lots or designated parking areas are noted on individual SNA pages and maps. Trails, if present, are typically undesignated footpaths. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map and/or under the “Access” tab. A compass and topographic map or a GPS unit are useful tools for exploring larger, isolated SNAs.
See the "Ownership" tab above to determine if this State Natural Area is DNR-owned, In general, the activities listed below are allowed on all DNR-owned SNA lands. Exceptions to this list of public uses, such as SNAs closed to hunting, are noted under the “Access” tab above and posted with signs on site.
- Cross country skiing
Many State Natural Areas are owned by DNR partner organizations and agencies. See the "Ownership" tab above to determine ownership of this SNA. Allowable recreational uses on partner-owned sites, and the rules governing them, may differ from those permitted on DNR-owned SNAs. Specific rules, especially for hunting and trapping, vary depending on the partner’s policies, and some may require a special permit. More details regarding use of partner-owned SNAs may be available under the "Access" tab above. If this SNA is owned by a partner, a link to the partner website is found at the top of this page. Please contact partners directly for more information on activities allowed on this property.
- Horseback riding
- Rock climbing
- Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use
- Collecting of animals, non-edible fungi, rocks, minerals, fossils, archaeological artifacts, soil, downed wood, or any other natural material, alive or dead. Collecting for scientific research requires a permit issued by the DNR
- Collecting of plants including seeds, roots or other non-edible parts of herbaceous plants such as wildflowers or grasses
- Camping and campfires
For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]