“A burly climb offering commanding views of the Mississippi valley below.
— Kenny Slocum
Birding — Fall Colors — Views — Wildflowers
With trailheads at the Wyalusing Ridge campground and the Long Valley Road boat landing, Sentinel Ridge is arguably the most challenging trail at Wyalusing State Park.
From the boat landing, the trail climbs an extraordinarily narrow limestone ridge. While some wooden steps may slow you down, it's not likely you'd go any faster without them as the initial climb is quite steep.
After finishing the steps, the trail keeps climbing through some of Wyalusing's most exceptional oak savanna habitat. The trail continues climbing, steeply, covering almost 600' of elevation in roughly 3/4 of a mile, until it gains the bluff top.
The trail opens up at a picnic area, which houses the famed monument to the last Wisconsin Passenger Pigeon, a testament to "the avarice and folly of man." The monument, joined with an exceptional view of the Mississippi, and some oxygen debt, creates quite a profound experience.
The trail is briefly paved through this section, and crowds can be abundant depending on the season. But as soon as you leave the open setting of the picnic area, they tend to thin out again. Shortly after the picnic area, a spur leads users down to Treasure Cave. To descend the ridge and access the cave, the DNR has installed a series of wooden structures somewhere between ladders and steps. NOT recommended for anyone with a fear of heights.
Continuing on past several more view points, the trail eventually terminates at the Wyalusing Ridge campground.
The steeper hillsides host a different community of plants and animals, with ferns and snails abounding on the cool, shaded slopes. The oak savanna terrain represents one of the most endangered ecosystems in the country.