Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Photo of State Natural Area Photo: Thomas Meyer

Wyalusing Walnut Forest State Natural Area
Thomas Meyer

February 2013

Wisconsin, naturally

Wyalusing Walnut Forest State Natural Area

Notable: Wyalusing Walnut Forest lies on the north face of a steep, 500-foot-high bluff overlooking the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers within Wyalusing State Park. The view of the river floodplain and rugged topography of the Driftless Area from the bluff top is stunning. Wet forest of silver maple and cottonwood lies at the base of the bluff, with dry forest of white oak and black oak at its summit. The middle slopes contain rich soils supporting a diverse flora of spring wildflowers under a canopy of red oak, sugar maple, hackberry, and black walnut. Limestone cliffs provide habitat for rock-dwelling plants like Canada yew, Sullivant's cool-wort, jeweled shooting-star and a diversity of ferns, including the unusual walking fern. The natural area and surrounding park are great places for watching birds, especially during spring and fall migrations. More than 250 species have been recorded here, including the rare cerulean warbler, Acadian flycatcher, Kentucky warbler, and red-shouldered hawk.

How to get there: Within Wyalusing State Park, Grant County. Obtain a park map at the park contact station upon entry and payment of the park admission fee. The natural area lies north of the Wisconsin Ridge Campground. The Bluff and Sentinel Ridge Trails provide access to parts of the site. Visit Wisconsin DNR and search "Wyalusing Walnut Forest" for information and a map.