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Wisconsin State Parks

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USA Parks
East Wisconsin Waters Region
High Cliff State Park
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High Cliff State Park © Walter A Herrera
High Cliff State Park © Walter A Herrera
High Cliff State Park © Kathleen Kowieski
High Cliff State Park © Kathleen Kowieski
High Cliff State Park © Kathleen Kowieski
High Cliff State Park Mound trail © John Plemel
This is one of the first sights you will see when you enter the forest on your way to the Effigy mounds.
High Cliff State Park © Kathleen Kowieski
High Cliff State Park Pathway © John Plemel
Looks like a pathway through the edge of the cliff. I wonder if it was used as a passageway at one time.
High Cliff State Park Near conical mound © John Plemel
A beautiful picture of the forest and moss covered rocks behind the first conical mound.
High Cliff State Park Deer © John Plemel
As I was leaving the Effigy mound area I ran into a mother deer and her two kids. The mother came within 20 feet of me, she was very curious.
High Cliff State Park © Kathleen Kowieski
High Cliff State Park © Kathleen Kowieski
High Cliff State Park The Lake © John Plemel
Another view of Lake Winnebago.
High Cliff State Park Blue Heron © Elizabeth Roettger
High Cliff State Park © Kathleen Kowieski
High Cliff State Park © Kathleen Kowieski
High Cliff State Park Goldfinch © Elizabeth Roettger
High Cliff State Park Mini Canyon-1 © John Plemel
Just a great view of a passageway on the edge of the cliff near the burial mound.
High Cliff State Park Mini Canyon-2 © John Plemel
Another view of the same passageway.
High Cliff State Park Inside the passage © John Plemel
Looking out from inside one of the passages through the rock near the burial mounds.
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N7630 State Park Rd.
Sherwood, Wisconsin   54169

Phone: 920-989-1106
Reservations: 920-989-1106
Email: park email button icon
High Cliff is the only state-owned recreational area on Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin's largest lake. The park has a marina, historic sites, a campground, picnic areas and shelters, a beach, watchable wildlife, an observation tower, and play areas. Many facilities including a specially-designed cabin, are accessible for people with disabilities.

High Cliff gets its name from the limestone cliff of the Niagara Escarpment, which parallels the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago. This ledge extends northeasterly to the Door County peninsula and on to Niagara Falls, New York.

A 125-acre area within the 1,147-acre park is designated as a state natural area, recognizing its excellent cliff environments, an undisturbed wet-mesic forest, and more than a mile of Lake Winnebago shoreline. Effigy mounds are important archaeological features.
History of the Area
The Niagara Escarpment, often called "the ledge," was formed by the settling and hardening of limy ooze at the bottom of the Silurian Sea, which covered much of Wisconsin nearly 400 million years ago. Later, the flat-lying dolomite was tilted downward to the southeast by earth forces, leaving its higher western edge exposed at the earth's surface.

Between 1,000 and 1,500 years ago, nomadic Siouan Indians built effigy mounds in what is now the park. There are four panther-shaped mounds, two buffalo-shaped mounds, conical mounds, and a linear mound.

As long ago as the 1880s, this area was noted for its breathtaking views of Lake Winnebago.

From 1895 to 1956, a limestone quarry and a kiln to extract the lime from the stone operated here. Workers drilled holes in the stone and used dynamite to blast it loose. The lime extracted in the kiln was sent throughout the Midwest for use in plaster and cement and to apply to soil to reduce acidity. Other limestone from the quarry was used for brick mortar and crushed into gravel. Horses pulled dump wagons of limestone to an area above the kiln until 1946, when they were replaced by a dump truck.

As many as 40 people worked at the operation, including drillers, a blasting specialist, stone crushers, teamsters, barrel makers, laborers, and a blacksmith. Many were recent immigrants from Hungary. In its heyday, the lime industry supported a small "company town" consisting of 16 houses for workers, a store (including a post office, telegraph office, and company office), and a tavern, all owned by the Western Lime and Cement Co.

The state bought the land in 1956 and opened the park in 1957.
A Wisconsin State Park System vehicle admission sticker is required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks, forests and recreation areas, please visit the VEHICLE ADMISSION STICKERS web page.
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
 Electric Sitesyes
High Cliff State Park has 112 regular (family) campsites, 32 of them with electric hookups, and eight group sites. New for 2005, the park also has a specially-designed accessible cabin for people with disabilities.

Firewood is available at the park wood yard. Most necessities can be purchase at the Marina Concession, the High Cliff General Store Museum, and local merchants near the park. There are coin-operated laundries in Hilbert and Stockbridge.

Select your campsite and register at the park office before setting up. During the off season, use the self-registration station.
Anglers can enjoy fishing from the shores of Lake Winnebago, with options for boat launches available. Common catches include walleye, bass, perch, and northern pike. Fishing tournaments are occasionally hosted here due to the lake's abundant fish populations. Year-round fishing is possible with ice-fishing prevalent during winter months.

High Cliff State Park is located near Appleton, Kaukauna and Menasha

High Cliff has four picnic areas with tables, grills, water, and rest rooms. Three open-air shelters and an enclosed pavilion may be reserved for a fee.
When considering cycling in the park, be mindful of trail conditions and regulations. The Lime-Kiln Trail allows biking; it's a mixed-use path. However, cyclists should proceed with caution as this route is shared with hikers and may have foot traffic.

The Red Bird Trail also permits bicycles but can present challenging terrain for less experienced riders due to its elevation changes.

Always wear appropriate safety gear while riding, especially helmets, since paths might include uneven surfaces or loose gravel that could lead to falls or injuries.

Check local advisories before your visit for any updates on trail closures or maintenance work that could impact bike access.

Remember seasonal restrictions: some trails are not open year-round to bicyclists-typically during wet seasons-to prevent damage and erosion.
Birding enthusiasts can enjoy diverse habitats, including forested areas and waterfront along Lake Winnebago. Look for warblers during migration seasons. The park's limestone cliffs attract cliff-nesting species like the peregrine falcon. Woodland birds such as woodpeckers and nuthatches are common in mature forests.

Waterfowl frequent the lake; watch for ducks, geese, and occasional loons or grebes. Open fields provide habitat for meadowlarks, bobolinks, and other grassland birds.

Elevated viewpoints offer chances to spot raptors soaring on thermals above the escarpment.
Visitors may encounter owls within dense woods or at dusk throughout various trails.
The Butterfly Pond area is a hotspot for songbirds; bring binoculars during spring migrations especially.

Trailside bird feeders maintained by staff increase sightings of finches, chickadees, cardinals near visitor center areas.
Seasonal guided bird walks enhance opportunities to learn about local avian life from experts.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
August 5 Less trails by Ron M
park review stars; one to five Great park, but there were horses everywhere.
April 11 Horseback riding at High Cliff State Par by Irene Petrik
park review stars; one to five The park is doing a great dis-service by not opening the park to trail riding for horses before May 1, 2010. This year spring is early and Hartman Creek and N. Kettle Moraine IS open.
April 1 overnight camping for me and my horse by roxie bredael
park review stars; one to five I live 2 hours away. riding and then being able to sleep overnight would be great.
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Area Campgrounds
Hickory Oaks Campground
3485 Vinland Road
Oshkosh, WI
Apple Creek Campground
3831 County Road U
De Pere, WI
Nearby Hotels

High Cliff State Park is 9 miles east of Menasha on State Highway 114. (From Menasha, Highway 114 starts as US Highway 10 and branches off to the southeast.) Turn south off Highway 114 at Pigeon Road and go about 1.6 miles to the State Park Road. Turn left (east) on State Park Road to the park entrance.

To reach the park from the south, take US Highway 151 north from Fond du Lac about 18 miles. Continue north on Wisconsin Highway 55 to Sherwood. Turn left (west) on State Highway 55/114. Stay on Highway 114 for about 2 miles to Pigeon Road. Turn left (south) on Pigeon Road and go about 1.6 miles to the State Park Road. Turn left (east) on State Park Road to the park entrances.

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Wisconsin State Parks