Beaches and Bluffs Attract Nature Lovers to La Crosse

In La Crosse, you don't have to go very far to enjoy Mother Nature. Just look outside your window and take it all in.

On Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 22:18
A bluegrass band jams at Cameron Park.

In La Crosse, you don’t have to go very far to enjoy Mother Nature. Just look outside your window and take it all in.

The diversity of beauty is evident at the beaches, parks and forests, all within La Crosse’s city limits. At Black River Public Beach, residents can play volleyball in the sand, go for a swim or try their hand at fishing, among other outdoor activities. For more fun in the sun, the beach also offers access for boaters to take a ride on the Mississippi River. The beach also provides campgrounds and two nearby golf courses, Irish Hills and Hillview.

For something a little less sandy, pack up the family and head to the Hixon Forest Nature Center. Buy some binoculars for bird watching, or lace up your boots for a brisk hike – the nature preserve provides plenty of areas to wander around, including the forest, marsh, native prairies, bluffs and rivers.

Located on the grounds of the nature center, the Myrick Zoo has recently gone through a transformation into the Myrick Hixon EcoPark & Zoo. The  zoo will feature animals native to the area, allowing visitors to see how they live in their natural habitat. The $4.8 million renovation includes a nocturnal building and an aquarium as part of its new exhibits.

One of the most impressive displays of natural beauty in La Crosse is Grandad Bluff. Above Hixon Forest, people can gaze at the nearly 600-foot mesa, the tallest in the area. Limestone rock had been quarried from the bluff, serving as a source of building material for years. In 1909, just before it was to be razed for large-scale quarrying, a local family named the Hixons purchased and donated the natural wonder to the city as a park.