Mill Bluff State Park
Updated: Jun 3, 2022
Being from Milwaukee, and having gone to college in St. Paul, MN, I've driven past the Camp Douglas exit on I-94 hundreds of times. It was only recently though, driving up to Perrot State Park, that I noticed the sign for Mill Bluff State Park near this exit. Just northwest of Camp Douglas, Mill Bluff State Park is easy enough to find, but even so, we missed the main entrance to the park our first time down Tunnel Road. We ended up driving all the way through the park (which isn't very far at all) before turning around and stopping at the camping area, which we mistook for the main office. After a pit stop in the bathroom and a quick consultation of the map, we realized the park is not only on both sides of I-94, but it's also on both sides of Tunnel Road. The main park entrance was directly across the street. Feeling a bit silly, I consoled myself by noting how the official state park sign was deeply set into the woods around it . . .
Finally in the parking lot of the main entrance, we geared up to hike the Mill Bluff Summit trail. In reality, we probably didn't need a whole lot of gear, but I'm very much an advocate for being prepared, despite never being a boy scout. One extensive flight of stone stairs later, we found ourselves at the top of Mill Bluff with a scenic view of I-94 and Camels Bluff in the distance. A short walk over to the other side of Mill Bluff revealed an even less exciting view, so back down the stairs we went.
Despite covering such a short distance, my legs were feeling a little like Jello, so I was happy that our next hike went around Camels Bluff rather than up it. We drove over to the trail head, which is on the other side of I-94 from the main entrance, and parked in the small lot off of Tunnel Road. This time I didn't make Lucky gear up. It was getting hotter out, and I decided to be nice and carry his water for him. Occupied with my considerations of Lucky's comfort, I forgot to consider my own. I would have been much more comfortable, and enjoyed the hike more, if I had applied a second coating of bug spray. The mosquitos and flies were so bad! I was swatting the air around me with the park map the entire time as winged insect after winged insect dive-bombed my head. Poor Lucky—I couldn't tell if he was more bothered by the flies congregating on his face or by me constantly smacking them away.
Needless to say we made short work of this trail and were back in the small parking lot in no time. With plenty of afternoon ahead of us, and no more park left to explore, we decided to stop in at another state park on our way home. There are a lot of options along the I-94 corridor, but rather than go do more hiking, we decided to stop at the pet swim area at Devil's Lake for a quick dip. A nice swim and a picnic on the boulders along the lake was the perfect way to end the day's state park adventuring.
Want more information about hiking with your dog at Mill Bluff State Park? Order your copy of A Dog Lover's Guide to Hiking Wisconsin's State Parks now!
Through the University of Wisconsin Press site.
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