Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
122.00 ft (37.19 m)
Trail type
2.40 mi (3.86 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.

The Pioneer Falls Trail is a 1.2-mile-long trail that runs from near the group camp to a viewpoint above Willow Falls. The trail is in Willow River State Park which is located east of Hudson, Wisconsin. There are two parking areas to access the Pioneer Trail from. To access the trail from the west end, use the parking lot across from the group camp. To access the trail from the east end, use the Willow Falls parking lot; the Pioneer Trail crosses a paved trail near this lot.

If starting at the Willow Falls parking lot, take the paved path for a short distance and then head east on a dirt path, this leads to a nice overlook above the falls. Here you will find some equipment from a grist mine that was built by German immigrant Christian Burkhardt. There is an informational sign about Burkhardt located here. Continue this hike by returning to the paved trail and taking a right; the Pioneer trail soon turns to the left. The trail goes past the homestead and grave site of the William Scott family who settled there in 1849. Next the trail skirts the 100 and 200 Campgrounds. The trail is a mix of forest and prairie habitat as it heads to the parking lot near the group campground. The trail ends a short distance beyond the parking lot at the road that leads to the 300 Campground.

To make this hike a loop visitors can walk through the 300 Campground and take the Willow Falls Trail.

The trails in Willow River State Park are designated with different colors; the Pioneer Trail has the posts painted yellow near the top. 

Dogs are allowed on the Willow Falls Trail but must be kept on a leash that is no longer than 8 feet in length. Since the Willow Falls Trail is located in a state park, a fee must be paid to enter the park. A day use or annual permit can be purchased at the park office.

A map of the hiking trails at Willow River State Park can be found here.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

State Park Day-Use Fee

Open Year-round



Historical sites along the trail.


Limited shade.

Trailhead Elevation

926.00 ft (282.24 m)

Highest point

926.00 ft (282.24 m)


Near lake or river
Family friendly
Historically significant
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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