Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Photo of State Natural Area Photo: Thomas Meyer

Tunnelville Cliffs State Natural Area
Thomas Meyer

April 2012

Wisconsin, naturally

Tunnelville Cliffs

Notable: A series of east-facing, Cambrian sandstone cliffs shelter noteworthy flora including Sullivantís cool-wort, bladder fern, swamp saxifrage, jewelweed, a variety of mosses and the state-threatened muskroot (Adoxa moschatellina). The cliffs perch above the meandering Kickapoo River, shaded by a mixed forest of white pine, red oak, yellow birch, basswood, sugar maple, paper birch and ironwood. There are black ash and round-leaved dogwood. Seepages and flowing rivulets at the cliff bases support large patches of skunk cabbage, sedges and wood nettle. In spring, search the uplands for maidenhair fern, woodland phlox, round-lobed hepatica, Canada mayflower, Virginia bluebells and other wildflowers. This natural area is part of a larger property owned and managed by the Mississippi Valley Conservancy (MVC), a regional land trust based in La Crosse. Visit Mississippi Valley Conservancy for more information on this and other MVC preserves. Although most state natural areas are on land owned by the Department of Natural Resources, several are designated on properties held by partner agencies and organizations like MVC.

How to get there:From the intersection of Highways 82 and 131 in La Farge (Vernon County), go south on 131 two miles, then west on Tunnelville Road 1.2 miles to a pull-off along the road. Park and walk west into the natural area. Visit Tunnelville Cliffs for information and a map of the site. A state park admission sticker is required.