Several years ago, I happened across Prairie Dells off Hwy 17 northeast of Merrill in Lincoln County. At the time, it was well hidden. Now there are signs.
It was an exciting place to visit. There is a lot to see and plenty of areas to explore. Furthermore, Visitors have free rein in the area, and their number is usually low. I liked that and could relax looking out over the river and its gorge. I’ve gone back several times to do just that.
The Prairie River is a tributary of the Wisconsin River, joining the Wisconsin River in Merrill. It is about 40 mi long and is part of the Mississippi River watershed.
The road leading to the dells when I was first there was gravel and led to a gravel parking lot. Oh yes, the road came with deer!
There were no signs, but I saw what looked like a trail, so I took it. This is a photo of the trail looking back at the parking lot.
As I approached the dells, I could see across the gorge. This was all new to me.
And then I saw the “go-to” place to admire it all. I walked out there and sat down on a fairly flat rock.
That’s when I could gaze at the Prairie River Dells in all its beauty. There was no one else here. I had a chance to listen to the quiet sounds of nature, something I seldom enjoy.
I was sitting on the edge of the cliff. I looked down. I was shocked to see a guy sitting there adjusting his lure and line. He was down there fishing! That was the first indication I had that I could get down there.
After a while, I got up and explored how I could get down there. I walked over to a small clearing in the dense woods. Believe it or not, to the right, a person could climb down. So that’s what I did.
As I held on to tree trunks to steady my climb down, I came across this rock formation.
And then this one.
I made it down there, then obsessed with the climb back up!
Once I got back up and caught my breath, I wandered into the surrounding forest.
Each time I have visited Prairie Dells, I have enjoyed it. The best part is sitting on the rock along the gorge, looking out at the dells.
The city of Merrill has presented an excellent description of the Prairie Dells. I commend it to you.