Nelson Dewey State Park RV & Campground Guide
Located above the shores of the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, Nelson Dewey State Park spans a total of 756 acres. The park is located about 500 feet above the river on a cliffside bluff; while there isn't boating or fishing access, you will enjoy some excellent views of the river while camping or hiking at the park. The scenery is particularly spectacular in the fall when the leaves change colors. The park is named after Nelson Dewey, who was the first governor of the state of Wisconsin. Additional nearby points of interest include White Pine Hollow State Forest and Turkey River Mounds State Monument.
RV Resorts & Campsites in Nelson Dewey State Park
You'll find a total of 45 campsites to choose from at Nelson Dewey State Park. Of these sites, four are walk-in sites that are reserved for tent camping only. You'll find electric hookups at 18 of these sites, and flush toilets and showers are available within the campground. Firewood is available during the peak season when the campground hosts are on-site. Along with excellent views, you'll have access to clean drinking water and a dump station while camping at Nelson Dewey State Park.
Nelson Dewey State Park Campground
The family-friendly Nelson Dewey State Park campground features 45 sites tucked into the forest. Most spots are basic, but 18 offer electric hookups. The campground offers a bathhouse with flush toilets and hot showers, and you can buy firewood from the camp hosts. Campsites are open for reservations from the beginning of May through mid-October; after that, they're first-come, first-served. Rates start at $26 per night.
Sandy Bottoms-Up Campground
Located about four miles from Nelson Dewey State Park, Sandy Bottoms-Up Campground is a fun, friendly place to set up camp. Of the 50 sites, 43 offer full hookups, and three have pull-through access. During the open season from May to September, the owners host frequent concerts, gatherings, and community meals. Watch out for the tubing events, which include an innertube rental and a shuttle service to a put-in point on the river. Bring your little ones because the playground, hiking trails, and fishing areas are fun for everyone. Rates vary; call for details.
Whitetail Bluff Campground
If you love amenities when you're camping, head to Whitetail Bluff Campground. This well-maintained campground features large, open RV sites with full hookups, modern restrooms, a shower house, and a laundry room. That's only the start; you can also take a swim in the pool, play on the water playground in the pond, relax on the beach, or let your kids run free on the playground. The campground has its own hiking-trail network, jump pad, sports court, arcade, and gaming machines. Pick up a snack in the clubhouse and rent a golf cart to enjoy the breeze. A full schedule of summer events amps up the fun. Rates range from $49 to $84 per night depending on the date.
RV Rentals Near Nelson Dewey State Park
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What to Do at
Nelson Dewey State Park
Along with excellent views, hiking, and camping, many people come to the park to view the Dewey House and the Native American mounds, which are believed to be burial mounds. You can tour the historic home, and one of its former outbuildings houses the State Agricultural Museum. In addition, the park has three designated picnic areas with tables, shade shelters, and grills.
Inside Nelson Dewey State Park
Nelson Dewey State Park is made for rest and relaxation. Hiking is the most popular activity in the park; during your stay, explore the two miles of trails that run along the steep bluffs. The Cedar Trail provides some of the best views while the Oakwood Trail is an easy, safe option for families with kids. If you're interested in nature, check out the Woodbine Nature Trail. Within the park, you'll find Native American mounds. To reach them, take the 0.6-mile Mounds Point Trail, and if you're looking for a day of relaxation in the sun, head to the Mound Point, Dewey Heights, and Cedar Point picnic areas.
No fishing is available within the park's boundaries. However, Riverside Park in Cassville is about 2 miles to the south and is a popular fishing spot. Common catches are catfish, walleye, and bass.
The park participates in a geocaching program in partnership with the Wisconsin Geocaching Association, which means that there is always a cache to find in this outdoor recreation area. You can use your smartphone or GPS device to find it. Once you do, you can take a souvenir and sign the logbook. However, don't forget to bring a family-friendly item to leave in the container for the next geocacher.
Hike along the Mount Point Trail, and you'll find some benches that offer the perfect spot to sit and observe nature. They offer a place to relax if you are trying to capture a unique photo of animals in the Wildlife Observation Area.
The park is located relatively far from any major cities, making the skies dark enough to enjoy some excellent stargazing, particularly on clear nights. You can set up a telescope at a picnic table or ascend one of the trails to get the best view of the heavens.
Flora and Fauna
You'll find lush woods, gently rolling grasslands, and open prairies as you explore the park. Several types of grasses abound in the prairie, including June grass, needle grass, butterfly weed, and Indian grass. Of course, since the park is set on the bluffs above the river, you'll also enjoy stunning views of the valleys below. Many migratory birds pass through the park, including raptors and golden eagles. Other avian species you might spot include Bell's vireo, Louisiana waterthrush, red-shouldered hawks, Kentucky warblers, and Acadian flycatchers. You may also spot deer, groundhogs, and chipmunks.
There are five hiking trails you can explore during your visit to the park. The trails at Nelson Dewey State Park mostly follow along the bluffs above the Mississippi River, offering some fantastic views. Most of these clifftop trails do not have guard rails or barricades, so take precautions when hiking. The Mound Point Trail is a relatively flat out-and-back trail with several overlook points where you can stop to admire the view of the river down below. The Oakwood Trail is accessible in a wheelchair. All of the trails can be combined to form one loop hike if you prefer a longer outing.
Even though the park is alongside the river, there is no boating access within Nelson Dewey State Park. There's a boat launch available nearby, however, at Riverside Park in the city of Cassville.
How to Get to
Nelson Dewey State Park
In Wisconsin, you can reach the town of Cassville via state highway 133 or 81. From Cassville, follow Great River Road as it heads out of town and turns into the 133 going north. After about half a mile, you'll take a left on County Highway VV. Follow this road for another mile until you see the entrance to the park on your right.
Entering Nelson Dewey State Park
There is parking suitable for RVs outside of the main gate and at the campground. In addition, a parking area is available for smaller vehicles in front of the historic Dewey House.
Nelson Dewey State Park Entry Fee per vehicle (Wisconsin residents) : $8.0
Nelson Dewey State Park Entry Fee per vehicle (Non-residents) : $11.0
Frequently Asked Questions About Nelson Dewey State Park
The best time to visit is spring, summer, or fall if you plan to stay overnight. The campground is closed during the winter, and they do not plow the park roads. If you are interested in snowshoeing, sledding, or cross-country skiing during a day trip, the parking lot outside the main gate is maintained once the snow flies.
The best time to view wildlife in the park is early in the morning. The recreation area is home to several wildlife species you can try to spot, including porcupines, raccoons, white-tailed deer, chipmunks, squirrels, skunks, and elk. Wild turkeys can also be seen strutting through the park, usually in a large group.
RVs are welcome at 41 out of the park's 45 camping sites, though not all of these sites offer hookups. However, each has a fire ring, picnic table, and nearby restrooms.
Reservations can be made in advance online, though they are not required. Camping costs vary, but you can expect to pay at least $15 when camping during the week and $16 on the weekends. Group camping sites are also available for $65 to $85 per night.
Your pets are welcome at Nelson Dewey State Park and can accompany you on the hiking trails. However, they must be kept on a leash, and you are responsible for picking up after your four-legged family members.
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