Willow River State Park RV & Campground Guide

Wisconsin

Willow River State Park

is located 5 miles north of Hudson in western Wisconsin. Because of its proximity to Minneapolis-St. Paul, it is one of the most visited state parks in the state. The park measures 2,891 acres and is most famous for Willow Falls, a powerful cascade in a 200-foot deep gorge, and Little Falls Lake, a shallow reservoir on the Willow River. Visitors also flock here year-round for the number of recreational activities on offer, including camping, hiking, boating, fishing, rock climbing, and swimming. Among its landscape, you’ll find acres of prairie, forests and panoramic river scenery, serving as the home to several species of wildlife including deer, chickadee, cardinal, red fox, bald eagle, and more.

Willow River State Park features weather typical of western Wisconsin, with summers reaching highs of 85°F, followed by winter lows of just 5°F. If you’re planning a trip to this region, you’ll certainly want to come prepared. Keep reading to find out more about this state park, including camping, in-park activities, how to get here, and more.

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Weather
Spring 22°F - 72°F
Summer 57°F - 85°F
Fall 26°F - 73°F
Winter 5°F - 31°F
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Nearby Cities
Hudson, WI
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Willow River State Park

While the park’s scenic and relaxing location draws visitors to the region, it’s also the camping opportunities (including both within tents and RVs) in and around Willow River State Park that have people flocking here. Tent camping can be fun, but nothing beats the comfort and ease of staying in an RV. If you don’t own one, you can easily rent an RV from RVshare.com to suit your budget and needs. All rentals come with nationwide insurance, 24/7 roadside assistance, and a world-class team dedicated to helping you succeed.

The good news is that the state park has a shaded campground with 72 sites (19 with electrical hookups), as well as 50 new camp sites in a natural prairie area (28 of which are electric and 6 of which are pull through sites for large RVs). Sites can fill up quickly, however, so we’ve also listed some additional campgrounds within vicinity to the park below.

River's Edge Apple River Tubing & Camping

  • Water hookup: yes
  • Electrical hookup: yes
  • Sewer hookup: yes
  • Wifi: yes
  • Pet-friendly: yes
  • Other amenities: on-site water park, mini golf, restaurant, swimming pool, laundry facility, convenience store, free shuttle, restrooms, showers, dump station, volleyball, horseshoes.

Apple River Hideaway

  • Water hookup: yes
  • Electrical hookup: yes
  • Sewer hookup: yes
  • Wifi: yes
  • Pet-friendly: yes
  • Other amenities: restrooms, showers, dump station, tubing.

Minneapolis Southwest KOA Holiday

  • Water hookup: yes
  • Electrical hookup: yes
  • Sewer hookup: yes
  • Wifi: yes
  • Pet-friendly: yes
  • Other amenities: heated indoor swimming pool, playgrounds, mini golf, bike rentals, camp store, dog park, restrooms, showers, basketball, laundry facilities, dump station.

RV Rentals Near Willow River State Park

Nearby RV Rentals

Restaurants

What to Do at
Willow River State Park

Inside Willow River State Park

Whether you’re hoping to enjoy hiking, boating, fishing, rock climbing, swimming or more – there’s certainly something for every type of traveler at Willow River State Park.

 

Hiking: The park contains 13 miles of trails for hiking, including one which is ADA accessible (the Hidden Ponds Nature Trail – a paved loop around a wetland). Other popular trails include the Little Falls Trail, Willow Falls Trail, and Pioneer Trail.

Boating: Temporarily, boating, canoeing and kayaking is impacted due to the drawdown of Little Falls Lake. As a result, canoe and kayak rentals are unavailable for the time being. Kayaking opportunities are still available in the river, however.

Fishing: The Willow River is stocked with trout and fishing is available both above and below the lakebed. It’s recommended that trout fishing is best upstream of the waterfall.

Rock climbing: There are several bolted sport climbs on the gorge walls, ranging from 5.9 to 5.14c in difficulty. Keep in mind no climbing is allowed on Saturday or after noon on Friday or Sunday. Leaving fixed gear is prohibited, as is rappelling from the top of the gorge.

Swimming: Due to the drawdown of Little Falls Lake, the swimming beach is temporarily unavailable. When the lake returns to its normal state, however, the swimming beach serves as the only designated swimming area within the park. Picnic tables, a beach house, and extensive parking are available here.

Winter activities: The park has 9 miles of cross-country ski trails on the south side of the river, as well as 2 miles of hard packed trails on the north side of the river available for snowshoeing and dog sledding. Other winter activities include sledding and ice fishing.

Outside Willow River State Park

If you thought the state park has lots on offer, then you’re going to be delighted by just how many experiences are available to you outside of its gates, including stunning sightseeing opportunities, award-winning restaurants, and more.

Restaurants

Pier 500

Located just a 15-minute drive from the state park is Pier 500, a classic American restaurant and lounge offering beautiful views of the St. Croix River. There’s no shortage of options for brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert, plus there’s plenty of kid-friendly meal options and gluten-free food.

Type: American restaurant

Location: Hudson, WI

Mama Maria's Italian Ristorante

Another short drive from the state park is Mama Maria's Italian Ristorante, which serves traditional Italian cuisine and pizza in a casual, family-friendly venue. It has been in operation since 1989 and continues to be family-owned and run.

Type: Italian

Location: Hudson, WI

San Pedro Café

Craving some Caribbean-themed food and drink?San Pedro Café is based in a stunning old venue nestled along the historic main street district of Hudson. The popular restaurant and bar celebrate the flavors, culture, and pleasures of the Caribbean Sea. Plus, locals say it serves the best guacamole in the area, hands-down.

Type: Caribbean

Location: Hudson, WI

Sightseeing

Lakefront Park

Lakefront Park is a city-run park in Hudson hosting a calendar of outdoor concerts and providing 7-day summer lifeguard cover. It’s one of the most popular picnic spots in the region, offering beautiful water views complete with sailboats.

Location: Hudson, WI

Heritage Center

The Heritage Center is just a 20-minute drive from the state park and includes 11 historic buildings filled with artifacts from the region’s past. It’s open for tours, programs and events, and offers something for everyone. Locals particularly love the flea market in the old barn.

Location: New Richmond, WI

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Just over a 40-minute drive across the border into Michigan is the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. This scenic zoo houses many exotic and native species, while the conservatory offers stunning gardens and kid-friendly activities. Admission is free but a small donation is encouraged.

Location: St Paul, MN

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How to Get to
Willow River State Park

From downtown Hudson, at the Vine Street stoplight, turn east. Follow Vine Street up the hill to County Highway A (Carmichael Road). Turn left and follow County A to the park entrance.

From Interstate Highway 94, take Exit # 4 and go north on US Highway 12 for about 1.6 miles. Go straight on to County Highway U for about 0.3 mile to County Highway A. Continue north on Highway A 1.5 miles. The park entrance will be on the left.

Entering Willow River State Park

A vehicle admission sticker (costing $3 - $15) is required to enter the state park.

We’re very excited you’re planning a trip to Willow River State Park. Once you’ve finished exploring all the park has to offer, there are also some incredible opportunities waiting for you outside of its gates! During or after your stay, we encourage you to tag us in any of your social media posts, or share your photos and experience with us at [email protected]. We may even feature your story on our blog or social media channels. Happy camping!