Buckhorn State Park: A Hiking and Wildlife Guide!

Buckhorn State ParK
Explore Buckhorn State Park's hiking trails and wildlife. Perfect for camping, family trips, and nature lovers.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to explore the great outdoors at Buckhorn State Park? Whether you’re looking for an exciting camping adventure or just want to take a leisurely stroll through the park, this article is for you! 

Buckhorn State Park is the perfect place to explore and connect with nature. From incredible wildlife-watching opportunities to breathtaking views from atop its hills, Buckhorn State Park offers something for everyone. 

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for some challenging hikes or a family wanting an idyllic spot for an outdoor day getaway, Buckhorn’s ample hiking trails are sure to satisfy any adventurer’s needs. So come enjoy one of Wisconsin’s best natural parks this year–you won’t be sorry!

Read on for all the details about Buckhorn State Park, from its hours and activities to tips on where to stay. No matter what your exploration looks like, you’ll be sure to find all the answers here!

11 Animals we saw while hiking in the Buckhorn State Park 

Are you looking to explore nature and see some of the most amazing creatures on earth? Join us as we explore the Buckhorn State Park in Wisconsin, to check out all the animals that we’ve encountered while hiking through its wildlife! From deer to heron, get ready to learn more about these majestic creatures while reading our story. 

Buckhorn State Park wildlife

Buckhorn State Park is a great location for wildlife exploration as it’s home to many different species of animals. We saw white-tailed deer, red-tailed hawks, wild turkeys, gray squirrels, beavers, foxes, mink, herons, otters, and even a porcupine! 

We were amazed at the diversity of animals that call Buckhorn State Park their homes. The park has over 600 acres of forest and wetlands that are not only habitats to many animal species but also provide recreational activities such as hiking, hunting, and fishing. Be sure to bring your binoculars along so you won’t miss out on a single one of these amazing creatures! 

At Buckhorn State Park you are sure to encounter some incredible wildlife if you take the time to look closely. Stretching across five counties in three different states, this expansive park is home to thousands of creatures waiting for you to discover them. Come grab the chance of seeing these 10 wildlife animals we encountered while exploring this beautiful destination!

Canada geese 

Canada geese are large birds that can be seen in many parks across North America. They are easily recognized by their long necks and black head and bill. While they can fly, they often prefer to walk or swim. In the winter, they will migrate south to find open water. 

Canada geese Buckhorn State Park wildlife

Buckhorn State Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including Canada geese. These birds can often be seen swimming in the park’s lakes or walking along the shoreline. Visitors should be aware that Canada geese can be aggressive if they feel threatened, so it’s best to give them plenty of space.

Whitetail deer  

Buckhorn State Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including the whitetail deer. These deer are often seen grazing in the meadows or woodlands within the park. While they are generally shy around humans, they can be curious and may approach you if you’re not paying attention. If you do see a deer while hiking in Buckhorn State Park, admire it from a distance and do not attempt to feed it. 

Whitetail deer Buckhorn State Park wildlife

The park is also a popular destination for deer hunters during the hunting season. As with all public lands, be sure to check local regulations before hunting on the park’s property.


While hiking through the woods of Buckhorn State Park, we came across a family of coyotes! They were so playful and curious, running around and checking us out. We even got to watch them hunt for a while, which was really fascinating.

Coyotes Buckhorn State Park wildlife

Though coyotes are occasionally spotted in the park, they’re far from common. So if you visit, you may not have the luck that we did – but it’s still worth keeping an eye out!

Wild turkeys  

While hiking through the Buckhorn State Park, we were fortunate enough to spot a few wild turkeys! These beautiful birds are relatively common in Wisconsin, but it was still exciting to see them in their natural habitat.

Wild turkeys Buckhorn State Park wildlife

The wild turkey is a large bird, with males weighing up to 30 pounds and females up to 20 pounds. They are mostly brown and black, with a white breast and tail feathers. Wild turkeys can fly short distances at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour!

Although they are not endangered, wild turkeys are protected by state and federal law. It is illegal to kill or harass them in any way. If you’re lucky enough to see a wild turkey while out on a hike, be sure to admire it from afar and enjoy the experience!

Sandhill cranes

There are many different types of animals that can be found in the Buckhorn State Park. One of the most popular animals to see in the park are the sandhill cranes. The sandhill cranes are a type of bird that is known for their long legs and neck. 

Sandhill cranes Buckhorn State Park wildlife

They can be seen in many different parts of the world, but they are most commonly found in North America. In the Buckhorn State Park, the sandhill cranes can be found near the water bodies and in the open fields.

These birds migrate to the park in March, and they remain there until October. During their stay in Buckhorn State Park, these cranes feed on insects, seeds, and grains. The sandhill cranes are an important part of the park’s ecosystem and they can often be seen in large groups.

Occasional black bear 

Black bears are not typically found in Buckhorn State Park, but there have been occasional sightings of black bears in the park. If you do see a black bear in the park, please do not approach it. Enjoy watching the bear from a distance and be sure to report the sighting to park staff.

black bear Buckhorn State Park wildlife

In addition to black bears, the park also has healthy populations of white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, wild turkeys and numerous other species of wildlife.


There are several different types of herons that can be found in Buckhorn State Park. The most common type of heron is the Great Blue Heron, but other types such as the Green Heron and the Black-crowned Night-Heron can also be seen.

Herons Buckhorn State Park wildlife

Herons are typically found near bodies of water where they can hunt for fish, frogs, and other small aquatic animals. They are easily recognizable by their long necks and legs, and their large wingspans. Some herons, like the Great Blue Heron, are quite large, while others, like the Green Heron, are much smaller.

If you’re lucky enough to see a heron while hiking in Buckhorn State Park, be sure to take some time to enjoy watching them hunt and feed. They are truly fascinating creatures!


Buckhorn State Park is home to a variety of animals, including muskrats. These small, rodent-like creatures are often found near ponds and streams, and they play an important role in the ecosystem by helping to keep the water clean. If you’re lucky, you may spot a muskrat while you’re out on a hike! 

Muskrats Buckhorn State Park wildlife

Buckhorn State Park also provides great habitat for muskrats with its many wetlands and marshy lakes. Muskrats build “houses” or “dens” out of sticks and mud in the water, which can be seen throughout the park. They feed on aquatic vegetation and crayfish, so they can often be seen near shorelines searching for food.


The first animal we saw on our hike was a beaver! We were so excited to see it swimming in the lake and chewing on tree branches. We couldn’t believe how big it was! We watched it for a while before moving on.

Beavers Buckhorn State Park wildlife

 Beavers are an important part of a healthy wetland ecosystem. They use their sharp incisors to cut down trees for food and build dams to create ponds and wetlands. These ponds provide a habitat for fish and other aquatic life. Beavers also help retain water in headwater streams, allowing it to slowly trickle downstream during dryer times of the year.


There are several species of otters found in the Buckhorn State Park, including the North American river otter, the Eurasian otter, and the giant otter. The North American river otter is the most common type of otter found in the park, and they can be seen swimming in the rivers and lakes or basking on the banks. 

Otters Buckhorn State Park wildlife

The Eurasian otter is less common, but can still be seen in the park on occasion. They tend to prefer areas with more vegetation, such as marshes or wetlands. The giant otter is the largest type of otter, and while they are not often seen in the park, they have been known to inhabit some of the larger bodies of water.

It is important to remember that all otters are protected and must not be disturbed or harassed.


Mink are small, semi-aquatic members of the weasel family. They have long, slim bodies and short legs, and their fur is soft and lustrous. Adult mink typically weigh 1-2 pounds.

Mink Buckhorn State Park wildlife

We saw a mink while hiking along the edge of a pond in Buckhorn State Park. It was swimming gracefully through the water, hunting for fish or other small aquatic prey. We watched it for a few minutes before it disappeared into the dense vegetation along the shoreline.

Mink are common in Wisconsin and can be found in most areas of the state. However, they are shy animals and are seldom seen by humans. If you’re lucky enough to spot one, enjoy the moment!

What are the hiking trails in Buckhorn State Park?

Wisconsin is home to some of the best outdoor activities in the Midwest. From great lakes and rivers to stunning national parks and forests, the state offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor exploration and recreation. 

Buckhorn State ParK trails

If you’re looking to experience some of Wisconsin’s wildest natural beauty, then head over to Buckhorn State Park. This park has 10 must-see hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the region and a chance to connect with nature in its purest form. Read on to find out more about what these trails have in store!


The Barrens Nature Trail is a 1.5-mile loop that winds through a mixed forest of hardwoods and evergreens. The trailhead is located at the north end of the Campground A parking lot. This moderate hike offers several great opportunities to view wildlife as well as experience a variety of plant life found in the park. 

The first 0.3 miles of the trail are ADA accessible and provide a paved path for easy hiking. The remaining portion of the trail is unpaved, but well-maintained with easy to follow signage. Along the way, hikers will encounter several lookout points that offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Wildlife such as deer, turkey, and small rodents are commonly seen along the nature trail, so keep your eyes peeled! 

The Barrens Nature Trail is a great option for those looking for a moderate hike with plenty of scenic views. Be sure to wear proper footwear and bring along water and snacks to keep your energy up.


The Whispering Pines Trail is a short, but scenic hike through the woods of Buckhorn State Park. The trailhead is located near the park office and campground, and the trail winds its way through a dense forest of pines and hardwoods. 

The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, making it a great choice for hikers of all levels of experience. The 0.6-mile trail loop takes about an hour to complete, and offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.


The Central Sands Nature Trail is a 1.4-mile loop trail that winds through a mixed forest of hardwoods and evergreens. The trail also passes by several small wetlands. This is a great trail for bird watching, as there are many species of warblers and other songbirds that can be seen and heard along the way. The trailhead is located near the park office, and interpretive signs are posted along the route to provide information about the natural history of the area.


If you’re looking for a short and sweet hike that will still give you a great view of the park, look no further than the Turtle Trail. This 0.4 mile loop is perfect for a quick nature fix, and you’re sure to see plenty of turtles basking in the sun along the way. 

The Turtle Trail starts off at the park entrance, then heads downhill before making a sharp left-hand turn. From there, it passes through a grassy meadow and winds along a stream before looping back to the trailhead. Along the way, you’ll be able to catch glimpses of the park’s stunning scenery, including towering trees and lush ferns. Keep an eye out for turtles sunning themselves in the shallow water or on logs and rocks!

Once you reach the end of your hike, take a few moments to soak up the beauty of your surroundings before heading back to your car. Enjoy your time on this peaceful trail surrounded by nature’s best.


The Glacial Lake Trail is a 1-mile loop trail that begins and ends at the Glacial Lake Overlook. The trail takes you through a variety of terrain, including forests, meadows, and wetlands. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to see a variety of wildlife, including deer, birds, and small mammals. The trail is relatively flat and easy to hike, making it a great option for all skill levels.


Buckhorn State Park is home to many beautiful hiking trails, and the Timber Trail is one of the most popular. This 1.3-mile trail takes hikers through a dense forest of towering pines and hardwoods. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, making it a great choice for families with young children or inexperienced hikers. Along the way, hikers can enjoy views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding countryside. The Timber Trail is a great way to experience all that Buckhorn State Park has to offer.


The Partridge Trail is a must-see hiking trail in Buckhorn State Park. This 1.2-mile trail offers stunning views of the Wisconsin River and is a great way to experience the park’s diverse wildlife. This trail connects to the Turkey Hollow and Central Sands Nature trail in the lower part of the park. 

The Partridge Trail is relatively easy to hike and is suitable for hikers of all ages and ability levels. The trail begins in the park’s main parking lot and follows a grassy path along the Wisconsin River. Along the way, visitors can see several scenic views, including stunning sand bluffs on the riverbanks. The trail also features several benches so that visitors can take a break and enjoy the views during their hike.

At the end of this trail, visitors can connect to two additional trails: Turkey Hollow and Central Sands Nature Trail. Both of these trails offer additional scenic views and opportunities for wildlife viewing. The Partridge Trail is a great way to explore Buckhorn State Park and experience its unique beauty.


The Turkey Hollow Trail is a 1.5-mile loop trail that runs through the woods of Buckhorn State Park. The trailhead is located near the park office and campground. The trail is marked with yellow blazes and is suitable for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The trail passes through a variety of habitats, including hardwood forests, wetlands, and prairies. There are several interpretive signs along the way that provide information about the plants and animals that can be found in the park.


The Pond Trail is a 0.5-mile loop that starts and ends at the Buckhorn State Park Visitor Center. This easy trail is great for all ages and offers stunning views of the park’s many ponds. Be on the lookout for wildlife, including ducks, geese, and turtles.

After departing from the Visitor Center, the trail winds its way through tall grasses and open meadows. The path continues to a bridge that crosses over a small pond. From here, there are views of the many small ponds in the park. As you walk along the path, keep an eye out for turtles sunning themselves on logs.

The Pond Trail ends at another bridge with views of the larger ponds in Buckhorn State Park. The trail then loops back to the Visitor Center, where you can continue your exploration of the park.


We had an incredible adventure exploring Buckhorn State Park and its diverse array of wildlife. From deer to foxes, to chipmunks, and even a black bear sighting – it was a hike that we will always remember! 

If you’re looking for a fun outdoor activity with plenty of opportunities to see some amazing animals in their natural habitat then take the opportunity to check out what Buckhorn State Park has to offer. You won’t regret it! 

Buckhorn State Park is a great place to explore and experience the beauty of nature, whether you are just looking to go on leisurely hikes or observe incredible wildlife. From its breathtaking views to its abundance of trails and scenic backdrops, this park is sure to leave visitors with an unforgettable journey each and every time they visit. 

We hope that our guide has been helpful in your exploration of Buckhorn State Park for 2023, showing you all that it has to offer and what you can expect when visiting this gorgeous area.

Are there bears in Buckhorn State Park?

Yes, there are bears in Buckhorn State Park! In fact, the park is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, coyotes, foxes, and even bobcats. While you’re unlikely to see bears while hiking the trails during the day, it’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and make noise if you do encounter one.

What can you do at Buckhorn State Park?

There are plenty of activities to keep you busy at Buckhorn State Park. In the summer, go for a swim at one of the beaches on Lake Wisconsin. Or rent a canoe or kayak and explore the lake. There are also miles of hiking and biking trails to explore. In the winter, hit the slopes at the cross-country ski trails or go snowshoeing.
Additionally, Buckhorn State Park offers fishing, hunting, and picnic areas. There are also special events throughout the year such as an Earth Day celebration and a Fourth of July fireworks display.

Can you swim at Buckhorn State Park?

Yes, you can swim at Buckhorn State Park! The park has a large, beautiful lake that is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the outdoors. Several smaller ponds throughout the park are also great for fishing or just relaxing in.
For more details about swimming at Buckhorn State Park, including regulations, please contact the park’s office.

Can you hunt in Buckhorn State Park?

The park is open to hunting and trapping during the Wisconsin state parks hunting and trapping season. Trapping is not permitted in closed areas or within 100 yards of designated use areas, such as trails.

Whether you’re an experienced hunter or a first-time novice, Buckhorn State Park is the perfect place to enjoy a day (or more) out in nature tracking your prey. The park offers over 6,990 acres of forest and wetland habitats to explore, providing ample opportunity to bag deer, waterfowl, small game, and more.

Before heading out, make sure to purchase the appropriate hunting license for the state in which Buckhorn State Park is located. Once you have your license, familiarize yourself with the park’s rules and regulations regarding hunting. Abide by all state laws and regulations. Please note that some areas of the park are closed to hunting; be sure to check the map before setting out.

Now that you know where you can and can’t hunt in Buckhorn State Park, it’s time to start planning your trip! If you’re not used to spending long periods of time outdoors, be sure to bring along plenty of food and water to stay hydrated and fueled throughout the day. Pack a few snacks as well – you never know when you might need a quick energy boost while you’re out on the hunt. 

What city is Buckhorn State Park in?

The city of Buckhorn State Park is located in the state of Wisconsin. The park is situated in the southwest part of the state, near the city of La Crosse. The park covers a total area of 6,990 acres and is home to a variety of wildlife and plant life. Visitors to the park can enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, and camping.

Towns closer to Buckhorn State Park include New Lisbon, Necedah, Mauston, and Wisconsin Dells.

What is Buckhorn known for?

Buckhorn State Park is known for its beautiful scenery, hiking trails, and camping opportunities. The park is located in the heart of the Wisconsin Dells region, which is known for its many lakes and rivers. 

Buckhorn State Park offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy, including hiking, fishing, swimming, canoeing, and kayaking. There are also numerous opportunities for wildlife viewing, as the park is home to a variety of animals, including deer, turkeys, eagles, and osprey.

Is Buckhorn Lake a good lake?

Buckhorn Lake is located in northern Kentucky and is a popular spot for fishing, camping, and swimming. The lake has an average depth of 30 feet and a shoreline of 1,200 acres. Several creeks also flow into the lake, making it a great spot for kayaking and canoeing. The water is clean and clear, and the views are beautiful.

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