6 Cool Outdoor Gems of Dunn County

Seeking scenic getaways in your own backyard? Look no further than these spots

Hannah Bryson

Looking for a new adventure? Townies and tourists alike should check out these six natural beauties that capture Menomonie’s beauty and history.    


Photo by Tiffany Taggart
Photo by Tiffany Taggart

1. Red Cedar River

Menomonie is home to the beautiful Red Cedar River – a freshwater playground for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and river tubing. Its shallow waters offer a peaceful float, with a 15-mile stretch running along the Red Cedar State Trail. The river is known to avid fishers for its large walleye population, and visitors can often spot bald eagles flying over the river to perch in the white pines along the banks.  


Photo by Andrea Paulseth
Photo by Andrea Paulseth

2. Red Cedar State Trail

This 14.5-mile trail runs along the bottom of the steep walls of the Red Cedar Valley from Menomonie to its connection with the Chippewa River State Trail. This scenic hike takes outdoor explorers through the Dunnville State Wildlife Area and along the Chippewa River. In winter, it’s regularly groomed for cross-country skiing.  


Photo by Taylor Smith
Photo by Taylor Smith

3. Hoffman Hills

Home to more than 700 acres of preserved and restored wooded hills, wetlands, and prairie, Hoffman Hills has nearly 9 miles of hiking trails. In the summer, native prairie hums with wildlife, and, in the winter, its cross-country ski trails wind through snow-covered forest. Crowing the highest point in the park is a 60-foot observation tower that offers gorgeous, colorful views for miles.  


4. Devil’s Punchbowl

Looking for a short yet challenging hike with a big reward? Take the steep trail down into Devil’s Punchbowl. Formed by post-glacial flooding, this natural rock amphitheater is the backdrop for a stunning waterfall. Located near the west bank of the Red Cedar River, this scenic location is perfect for bird-watchers, photographers, couples, and geologic students alike. The sides of the exposed rock face flourish with plant life in the spring and summer and are covered by a curtain of ice in the winter.



5. Menomin Park

Nestled along the east bank of Lake Menomin is 147 acres of largely undeveloped land. Menomin Park’s ponds and prairie grasses are just a couple of the natural features that give the land its unique character. The park has walking and hiking trails and more than 5 miles of mountain-biking trails.


Photo via Visit Eau Claire
Photo via Visit Eau Claire

6. Caddie Woodlawn Park

This park project was launched by the Dunn County Historical Society. Located in the park is the childhood home of Caddie Woodhouse, who was immortalized by her granddaughter, Carol Ryrie Brink, in Caddie Woodlawn. The Newbery Medal-winning children’s book is based on life in the Downsville area during pioneer days.