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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Tunnelville Cliffs (No. 542)

Tunnelville Cliffs

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer/DNR



Vernon County. T13N-R3W, Section 36. 150 acres.



Tunnelville Cliffs features an extensive series of east-facing Cambrian sandstone cliffs that support a noteworthy flora including a state-threatened species. Sullivant's cool-wort, bladder fern, swamp saxifrage, prairie alumroot, jewelweed, mosses, and several liverworts are among the other cliff associated species found here. Situated above the East Branch of the Kickapoo River, the cliffs are shaded by a mixed forest of large white pine, red oak, yellow birch, basswood, sugar maple, paper birch, and ironwood. Black ash and round-leaved dogwood are also present. Herbaceous species include rattlesnake fern, maidenhair fern, false mermaid-weed, round-lobed hepatica, wild geranium, sweet cicely, Canada mayflower, woodland phlox, and black snakeroot. Below the cliff, the Kickapoo curves away to the east and supports a wetland containing alder, skunk cabbage, wood nettle, and sedges. Seepages can be found along the cliff base. Other natural features include ice caves, waterfalls, and a small goat prairie. Tunnelville Cliffs is owned by the Mississippi Valley Conservancy and was designated a State Natural Area in 2006.


Driving directions

From the intersection of Highways 82 and 131 in LaFarge, go south on 131 2 miles, then west on Tunnelville Road 1.2 miles. Park along the road and walk west into the site.


Tunnelville Cliffs is owned by:

  • Mississippi Valley 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.

To create your own custom map where you can zoom to a specific location, please use the DNR's mapping application.


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.

The good majority of SNAs are isolated and have few or no facilities. Some SNAs have vehicle access lanes or parking lots, but their accessibility may vary depending on weather conditions. Parking lots and lanes are not plowed during winter. Hiking trails may be nonexistent or consist of undeveloped footpaths. A GPS unit or compass and detailed topographic map are useful tools for exploring larger SNAs.

Non-DNR lands

Entrance fees: For non-DNR-owned SNAs, we are unaware of any vehicle or admission fees. However, please contact the landowner for more information.

Hunting and trapping

This is a non-DNR owned SNA: Opportunities for hunting and trapping depend on the land owner. Please contact them directly to find out about their rules for hunting and trapping. You can find a link to other owner websites under the "Resources" heading above. More details regarding allowable uses of this non-DNR owned SNA may be posted, if available, under the "Access" tab above.

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Other activities

Other allowable activities such as - but not limited to camping, geocaching and bicycling are determined by the landowner. Please contact them directly or visit their websites for details.

Last revised: Friday, February 24, 2023