Camp in a rare wilderness setting along the shoreline of Castle Rock Lake.

Buckhorn State Park is located just off of Interstate 94, halfway between Milwaukee and Minneapolis. The park occupies the end of a large peninsula that cuts into the Castle Rock Flowage of the Wisconsin River.

Forty two backpack sites line the outer ring of the peninsula, arranged in clusters of three or four sites each. Most are secluded and positioned along the shoreline of Castle Rock Lake, giving you access to a narrow strip of private shoreline. The sites are separated from one another by 10-20 yards of dense growth, which offers a lot of privacy, even when camping with a group. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring and a small bench. Each cluster has a shared portable toilet and a small parking area located anywhere from 100 yards to just over one mile away. Some of the sites have carts available to transport your gear to and from the parking area.

The lake is calm and shallow - perfect for fishing and floating. If you don't have a boat of your own, rent a pontoon and head south to the end of the peninsula. Look for the small island which marks a large sandbar where locals and visitors dock their boats en masse on the weekends and wade from boat to boat exchanging shots of Rumchata and cans of domestic beer.

Pack List

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Activities Stand Up Paddle, Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Rafting, Kayaking, Swimming
Skill Level Beginner
Season Summer
Features
Adult Beverages
Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Groups
Lake
River
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Fun time at Buckhorn

Our group enjoyed the hiking at Buckhorn. The trip was pleasant; not a lot of traffic on the trails, so we were able to enjoy the woods to ourselves. Nothing too challenging, we might go back with kids next time!

Don't Expect Pristine Nature

I was excited to check out this State Park via trail-running and a swim, only to find that most trails had been overtaken by logging roads and the water was so warm that algae had drastically reduced the water clarity. I had to use the beach's showers after my swim to get the green algae out of my suit and hair. Despite the above, the backpacking sites I ran past looked very pleasant, and the Central Sands Nature Trail Loop and Barrens Nature Trail remained untouched by the bulldozer. Also, there appeared to be some nice canoe/kayak/SUP routes on the eastern portion of the park that would be worth checking out. I didn't know about Jello shot island, but will be doing that over running the next time I go!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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