Description - Roche-A-Cri State Park, established in 1948, includes a 605-acre park area. Roche-A-Cri comes from French words meaning "crevice in the rock." The park has a prominent butte rising 300-feet above surrounding flatland. Composed of 480-million-year-old Cambrian standstone, this outcropping was once an island in ancient glacial Lake Wisconsin. Indians used the rock as a median for petroglyphs. Today, visitors are invited to climb the rock using the 303-step staircase to the flat top. Resting benches and interpretive signage accompany the ascent.
Copyright: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Roche-A-Cri State Park
- A variety of attractions draw visitors to Roche-A-Cri State Park. There are more than five miles of hiking trails through hardwoods and prairie that teem with wildlife and wildflowers. In fact, there are several areas of prairie restoration. The Friends of Roche-A-Cri State Park have developed a prairie south of the park on Czech Avenue. Parking is available and a trail will lead you through the prairie. The Chickadee Rock Nature Trail and the stairway have interpretive signs. The white oak stairway allows users to reach the top of the 300-foot Roche-A-Cri mound. The stairway has two rest areas along the way and an observation platform at the top. Other trails include the 0.75-mile Spring Peeper Trail, the 0.9-mile Turkey Vulture Trail, and the 3.5-mile Acorn Trail that leads to the ancient petroglyphs.
Native trout can be caught in Carter Creek. Check with park staff before fishing. These waters may contain some fish species on the State Health Advisory List that may have higher than acceptable levels of mercury or PCBs.
Roche-A-Cri has 41 rustic campsites beneath a grove of white pines and red oaks. There are no showers or electric hookup with the exception of one handicapped accessible site that offers electric. Camping is available May through mid-October. Call the park office regarding the exact dates. Campers must register at the park office or use the self-registration box in the office parking lot before setting up. There is a dump station near the office building. Firewood is for sale near campsite no. 22. Near campsite no. 28, the 3.5-mile Acorn Hiking Trail is accessible. Camping reservations are recommended but not necessary; reservations are available online or by calling a toll-free reservation number. Contact information is listed below.
There are three picnic areas in the park. They are near the office, the kiosk, and the Chickadee Rock Trail Head. There is play equipment at the park office picnic area, in the campground, and at the kiosk area.
Roche-A-Cri has the only interpreted rock art site in the state. The observation area is west of the office on the main park road. The accessible ramp and observation deck allow all visitors to view the petroglyphs and pictographs. A marker describing the park's glacial history can be found on the west side of the mound.
Located several miles north of the park is Wisconsin's Rustic Road 50. Scenic vistas and wildlife are the highlight of this century-old route.
Recreation - Visitors come to Roche-A-Cri State Park to enjoy a variety of outdoor recreations. Climbing the 300-foot butte is without a double the most memorable recreation. Camping, picnicking, nature study, trout fishing, and hiking are enjoyed as well.
Climate - Southwest Wisconsin has four distinct seasons with warm summers and long winters. January's average temperature is above 16 degrees F (-9 degrees C). Average July temperature is 85 degrees F (29 degrees C). During summer, temperatures can climb to above 90 degrees F (32 degrees C). The area's average yearly precipitation ranges from 32-34". Annual snowfalls in the Southwest Region can range from 20 - 40". Dressing in layers is a good way to remain comfortable in Wisconsin.
Roche-A-Cri State Park is located in central Wisconsin a mile north of Friendship along Hwy. 13.