Sunday, November 6, 2016

Great trails found in Mississippi River town

Rieck's Lake Park in Alma, Wis., offers a chance to see tundra swans,
muskrats, beavers and mink.
From muskrats and tundra swans to ancient fossils and blufftop vistas, travelers can find a number of great sights on trails in the Mississippi River town of Alma, Wis. Among them:
Alma Beach – A 300-foot swimming beach on the Mississippi River sits next to the Alma Harbor and Marina. Various community events are held there as well.
Buena Vista Overlook Trail – Day hikers can see ancient fossils on a spectacular vista that long ago was at the bottom of the sea. The 0.22-miles round trip Buena Vista Overlook Trail marks a must-see for anyone traveling the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River. Located in Buena Vista County Park, it’s an easy walk that will leave you awed.
Buena Vista Trail – Those looking for a physical challenge can instead leave their vehicle parked in Alma and head up the steep Buena Vista Trail. From Second Street, the route climbs 550 feet of the bluff over three miles to the Buena Vista County Park’s lawn area.
Mossy Hollow Trail – An easier walk than the Buena Vista Trail, this hike begins at the Alma Cemetery off of Cemetery Road east of Wis. Hwy. 35. As heading up the bluff, it offers fantastic views of the Mississippi River valley below.
Rieck’s Lake Park walkabout – Observation decks overlook a waterfowl habitat at the confluence of the Mississippi and Buffalo rivers. About mid-October, large concentrations of tundra swans from northern Canada and Alaska arrive and linger until November or freeze-up. Peak population reaches 6,000. Other wildlife – like beaver, muskrat and mink – can be seen here, with muskrat huts visible on the lake. From downtown Alma, head north on Hwy. 35 then go left/east onto Rieck's Lake Park Road.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.