• Lara Draxler

Trip Report-Pattison State Park (WI)


We recently returned from a great weekend away camping at Pattison State Park in northwest Wisconsin. It was a really nice experience, and I truly had very little from the trip that wasn't knocking it out of the park.


We started camping last year and each time we learn a little bit more--what to pack, what to buy, what to leave at home. This trip was no different. We are always learning, and I am enjoying becoming more of a camping pro!


We took the two hour drive north and arrived at the campsite around 3, which happens to be check in time at all WI state park campgrounds. After a yummy pizza stop at Tony's in Spooner, (highly recommend the bacon cheeseburger with pickles pizza there BTW) we were ready to set up camp!



It's easy to reserve campsites online. Most parks have self check-in too.

As you can see, our campsite was very spacious. The first night we were there, there was no one beside us either! Total peace and solitude. My only complaint about this site was that the picnic table was ROTTING. Kind of a big deal when you only have one table to use for lots of storage, cooking, and food prep. It was literally falling apart. It was so bad, my husband had to use cables from our truck to keep it together. But, other than that, no complaints.

We love to use the Coleman gazebo over our eating area to keep it cooler, free of bugs, and in tact if rain comes.


After we got camp set up, I went to explore the facilities. There was a vault (outhouse) style toilet about a 3 minute walk from our site. This is a large campground, but they did offer a bathhouse with showers and flush toilets in the middle of the campground. It was about a 5 minute walk away with well marked paths. Overall, really nice to have a shower facility even if it was rustic. It was also nice to have the outhouse style toilets (that were extremely clean) closer for night time toilet treks (flashlight required). We bought camping lanterns from Amazon that worked GREAT for nighttime. If you have never camped you may not realize how dark it can be!



shower and flush toilet building

Again, a rustic shower is better than NO shower! The water was hot and much appreciated.

each shower had a stall with a locked door.

After we oriented ourselves, we decided to walk down to the swimming beach. We planned on hiking the next day. I was immediately impressed with the grounds at this park. It was stunning and very clean. You can see the swimming beach below. It was very sunny and hot during our trip, so we enjoyed cooling off here.




We spent most of our trip relaxing, reading, and just chilling out. But, we did enjoy seeing both waterfalls that were at this park. We went to the first, Big Manitou, Friday morning before it got too hot.

making s'mores and other campfire food!

relaxing fireside

The inside of our tent!

ready to hike

The walk to the biggest waterfall in Wisconsin (165 ft to be exact) was short and paved. It was a REALLY high viewing platform and I am scared of heights...therefore not many pics. :S


Later on Friday, we went on the other hiking trail in the park to Little Manitou Falls. I preferred it. It was a longer walk (about 3 mi in total), but it was on a beautiful riverside trail. Also, the viewing area of the little Falls was much nicer in my opinion.


We hiked around 4:30 pm and it was so perfect. I loved how well maintained this park was, particularly the trails. We headed back to camp and enjoyed one more night under the stars. We did get some rain that night, but overall we stayed dry in our tent. I would suggest heading to a campground during the week if you can. It's much easier to get reservations and much quieter during the week vs. weekends when campgrounds fill up.


I would highly recommend Pattison State Park and I do hope to return perhaps in the fall. We will be hiking again next month at Perrot State Park to the south of us. Stay tuned for more adventures!

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