Wisconsin Day Trips, Nature July 08, 2017
The Wisconsin Wildlife Safari That’s Perfect For A Family Day Trip
Up in the middle of the state, about halfway between Black River Falls and Wisconsin Rapids sits a nearly 9,150 state wildlife area. It’s adjacent to the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge and it offers a unique Wisconsin experience.
Not only is this 9,150 acre wildlife area home to tons of interesting plant and animal life, but it's the most accessible outdoor area in the state.
With a 14-mile long auto trail, known as the Trumpeter Trail, those who would normally have difficulty accessing nature are brought up close and personal with it.
The auto trail can take about two hours and includes a guide sheet to take in your car and various sign posts along the way to help you understand the different parts of Sandhill.
The area gets its name from the Sandhill Crane that returns here every Spring. The beautiful wading birds are quite prolific in this area.
Whooping Cranes were once critically endangered here in Wisconsin, but a flock as introduced at neighboring Necedah Marsh and continues to flourish and return to this area.
Keep your eyes open along the trail for areas like this Beaver pond.
There's also a spot where Porcupines are prevalent, though they tend to be more visible at the end of Fall and beginning of spring.
A great many birds call this area home, so make sure you're looking up in the trees, not just down on the ground.
You never know what your keen eye could spy - like this little tree swallow hiding in this tree stump.
The trail is named for the Trumpeter Swan, a bird that was once endangered and has flourished in this area.
The best time to see animals is early in the day and near sunset. Don't be afraid to turn your engine off and wait the animals out a bit. They are used to visitors, but can still be shy.
The other animals are certainly interesting, but most people come here hoping to spy the bison herd that has its own 260 acre enclosure here.
If your group is able, the very best viewing of the bison herd can be had atop the nearby viewing platform. It's not a high tower and should be climbable for the young and young at heart.
Though most folks think bison belong more to the wild west, they actually roamed all through the middle part of the country at one point. This herd was first started in this area in the 1950s.
Sandhill State Natural Area is open April through November, but visitors should always call ahead before making the trip, just to be sure. It's a gorgeous natural resource and the auto trail helps bring nature to those that might not otherwise be able to experience it, making it a true family destination.
Sandhill Wildlife Area is located in southwestern Wood County, approximately 25 miles south of Marshfield and 17 miles west of Wisconsin Rapids. The property headquarters and visitor’s entrance is one mile west of Babcock on County Highway X. The headquarters address is 1715 County Highway X, Babcock, WI 54413.
Looking for more easy and accessible outdoor activities in Wisconsin? Check out
11 Amazing Wisconsin Hikes Under 3 Miles You’ll Absolutely Love.