Welcome to the home page for Vernon County Parks & Forests!
Vernon County is located in the "Driftless Area" of southwest Wisconsin. The city of Viroqua, located approximately 35 miles southeast of La Crosse, is the county seat.
The Driftless Area or Paleozoic Plateau is a region in the American Midwest noted mainly for its deeply carved river valleys. While primarily in southwest Wisconsin, the Driftless Area includes areas of southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, and northwest Illinois.
The glaciers that covered much of the Midwest bypassed the Driftless Area, giving rivers time to cut down into ancient bedrock and create distinctive landforms. Many of the soils that cover the steep slopes are fragile, ecosystems are diverse, and most of the cold-water streams and rivers are recognized on a state and national basis for their economic, environmental, and recreational importance.
Vernon County's Parks & Forests take full advantage of the area's rugged landscapes. Sidie Hollow Park, Jersey Valley Park, and Runge Hollow Recreation Area include relatively small lakes in valleys with steep, forested hillsides surrounding them. Duck Egg and Kooyumjian-Lost Creek are county forest properties offering natural scenic vistas, public fishing and hunting, and several miles of hiking trails. Equestrian trails are also present at Duck Egg. Esofea/Rentz Memorial Park is conveniently located about six miles from each the communities of Viroqua and Westby. Esofea/Rentz Memorial Park & Forest is a combination park and forest property, with a trout stream, cold-water spring fishing ponds, campsites, a picnic shelter, playground, ball field and 3 miles of great hiking trail. Blackhawk Park is a 2-acre tract of land along the Mississippi River north of De Soto. There is a boat landing, boat slips, and a concession stand.