Rush Creek State Natural Area Hike

Rush Creek SNA Goat Prairies, Crawford County, Wis.

Come hike some of the largest hill prairies in Wisconsin! Characteristic hill prairie plants are found throughout a series of prairies on southwest facing slopes along the Mississippi River. Learn more about the site at

Location: Crawford County. T10N-R6W, Sections 5, 6, 7. T10N-R7W, Section 1. T11N-R6W, Sections 19, 21, 28-33. T11N-R7W, Sections 11, 25, 36. 2,845 acres.


The outstanding feature of Rush Creek is a two-mile long series of dry, alkaline prairies situated on the steep southwest facing limestone-capped bluffs of the Mississippi River. These “goat prairies”, named for their steep, rocky terrain, are part of the most extensive dry prairie remnants left in the state. While most Wisconsin prairies were lost to the plow or development, Rush Creek’s steepness and dry southwestern exposure are largely responsible for its preservation. Characteristic plants include lead-plant, little blue-stem, side-oats grama, silky aster, blazing-star, wood betony, compass plant, and bird’s-foot violet. The narrow north and east-facing slopes bluff tops are forested with red and white oak and a significant amount of black walnut, hickory, basswood, sugar maple, and aspen. Common shrubs and mid-canopy species include gray and round-leaved dogwood, American hazelnut, sumac, and ironwood with a good diversity of woodland herbs and forbs. The spring-fed Rush Creek is cool and clear and supports a floodplain forest of silver and red maples, elm, cottonwood, river birch, and willow. The extensive nature and diversity of vegetation make Rush Creek important habitat for numerous rare plants and animals. Rush Creek is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1981.

Driving directions

From the intersection of State Highway 35 and County Highway C in Ferryville, go north on Highway 35 3.1 miles, then northeast on Rush Creek Road. We'll meet near that intersection, either parking on Hwy 35 or Rush Creek Road depending on the number and type of vehicles that join us. 

Trip leader: Jim Rogala, [email protected], 608-799-6344; call or text

August 10, 2019 at 10:00am - 12pm
Rush Creek State Natural Area
63198 Rush Creek Rd
Ferryville, WI 54628
United States
Google map and directions
Jim Rogala · · 608-799-6344; call or text

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