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Contact information
Kevin Schilling
Area Supervisor
3550 Mormon Coulee Road
La Crosse, WI 54601

Wisconsin State Parks and ForestsCoulee Experimental State Forest

Coulee Experimental State Forest

COVID-19 Update

All Wisconsin state park system properties are now operating 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. An annual park sticker or trail pass is required to visit state parks and trails. Annual park stickers only, can now be purchased online. State trail and other passes can still be purchased over the phone by calling 1-888-305-0398 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days per week. Buy before you go: annual passes are NOT available for purchase at individual properties. Visitors must have an annual admission sticker adhered to their vehicle or proof of purchase for entry.

All campgrounds, restrooms, water fountains, buildings, observation towers and playgrounds are closed at all state parks and forests. For more information, please see:

Properties may be limiting admission based on capacity. Please make sure to seek out current property information on our website before visiting:

The Coulee Experimental State Forest is a unique property in Wisconsin. It was purchased by the state to provide land for long-term research studies to investigate forest watershed problems and develop forest and land management practices designed to reduce water problems and improve forest yields. The forest is also managed for forest production, wildlife habitat and recreation.

Property info

The forest is characteristic of southwestern Wisconsin's Driftless Area, the unglaciated portions. The name Coulee comes from an old French word meaning ravine. The name accurately describes the area, as the forest has many of these deep gulches or ravines formed by water erosion.


The Coulee Experimental State Forest is located approximately 15 miles east of La Crosse in La Crosse County.

The forest has two parking areas. To access the eastern parking lot and ski trailhead, from Bangor take Hwy. 162 south to County Road II. Turn right on the forest road at the top of the hill. The parking area is at the end of the road. To reach the western side parking lot, take Hwy. 33 east from La Crosse, then north on County Road M. Turn right on Russlan Coulee Road, just east of Barre Mills. Parking areas are at the end of the road.


Unlike other state forests, visitors do not need to purchase a vehicle entrance sticker or trail use pass. However, hunting licenses fees do apply.

Management and business

Annual Property Implementation Plans

Implementation plans are posted every year in March and contain:

  • major planned and scheduled forest and habitat management treatments;
  • recreation and infrastructure development projects; and
  • other property management actions.

Master plan

Completed in fall of 2010, the state forest master plan reflects years of planning and public input. The final plan, maps, variances and amendments are included in the plan, as well as documents used during the plan's development.

Public involvement

Public involvement in state forest management, operations and monitoring is part of sustainable forestry. We seek public involvement because we believe people, communities, organizations and businesses realize the potential public benefits of state forests and are willing to work to further the goals of sustainable forestry.

Last revised: Friday May 08 2020