Outdoor Fun at Wisconsin’s Famed Horicon Marsh

Wisconsin is home to the nation’s largest freshwater cattail marsh

Dawson Jollie

A boardwalk at Horicon Marsh.
A boardwalk at Horicon Marsh. (Allen C | CC BY-SA 2.0)

The school district of Horicon has a pretty unusual mascot that I have come to love: the Marshman.

I could tell you the reason why, but the best way to get it is to go see for yourself!

Less than a 3½-hour drive from Eau Claire lies the nation’s largest freshwater cattail marsh; 32,000 acres of land dedicated to wildlife management. The Horicon Marsh is a thriving home to more than 300 species of birds, among other critters, and a stunning destination for nature lovers to explore.

No matter the season, visitors can take the numerous hiking trails, letting you walk alongside the cattails and long grass with full immersion. If biking’s more your fancy, then check out the 36-mile route looping around and across the marsh.

Egrets at Horicon Marsh.
Egrets at Horicon Marsh. (Photo by Chumlee10 | CC BY-SA 2.0)

If you’re new to the marsh, the Education and Visitor Center is perfect for children and adults alike to take a peek at its fascinating history. Here, you’ll learn how the locale has been a major resting stop for waterfowl – such as Canada geese and redhead ducks – for generations. Or take a step back all the way to the Ice Age with their informational exhibits, as you discover how glacial movements played a role in forming the geological landscape we see today.

Admission to the Education and Visitor Center is free, though access to their interactive “Explorium” requires a general $6 fee.

Those looking for an overnight stay can indulge in the amenities of Ledge Park, a beautiful campsite and recreational area lying on the Niagara Escarpment. Only minutes from the marsh, the park offers electric and non-electric sites for reservation, on top of restroom, shelter, and playground accommodations. But the coolest part: its small collection of hiking trails, leading upward to a gorgeous eyeful of the marsh.

Join in on the fun and spend a day at the Horicon Marsh,and you’ll really know what it means to be a “Marshman!”

For more information on the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center or other recreational activities, check out their website at horiconmarsh.org. Campsite reservations for Ledge Park are available between April 15 through Oct. 31; learn more and reserve a spot online by visiting co.dodge.wi.gov.