Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
99.00 m (324.80 ft)
Trail type
1.50 mi (2.41 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Parfrey’s Glen was designated as Wisconsin’s first state natural area in 1952 and has remained a popular hike for locals and visitors alike. This is a perfect trail hike for those looking to casually enjoy the natural beauty of central Wisconsin.

The trailhead is easy to locate, marked by a paved parking lot and picnic tables. Enjoy a quick bite to eat before you head into the woods. The trail winds through the trees alongside a quickly moving stream. Enjoy views of flowing waterfalls, the occasional songbird, and lush flora, including several rare plant species. The trail begins as a gravel path, quickly turns to dirt, and ends at the mouth of the gorge. Hikers can easily continue on through the gorge by puddle jumping, crossing logs, and skipping over rocks. Parfrey’s Glen Stream is swift but shallow. If a boot slips into the water, you are only in danger of wet socks. However, keep in mind that heavy rainfall can increase the depth of Parfrey’s Glen Stream quickly.

While the waterfalls and rich forest are certainly a sight to behold, the true magic of Parfrey’s Glen lies in the geological traits of the walls of the gorge. Geologists, rock enthusiasts, and casual hikers will all appreciate the beauty of the sandstone rock walls embedded with nuggets of quartzite. While navigating the gorge, you may find yourself intently studying the intriguing sandstone and quartzite rock formations crafted over years of flooding.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

State Park Fee


Unique geology. Pretty waterfalls.


Can be crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

859.58 ft (262.00 m)


Bird watching


Nearby Adventures


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