Fern Dell Gorge, SNA #407 (39/674)

Fern Dell Gorge is aptly named as Dell Creek eroded the Upper Cambrian sandstone over time leaving a gorge filled with a variety of ferns.  As this site is within Mirror Lake State Park, a sticker is required for visiting.  From within the park, one can take the Northwest Trail from the park office which approaches the gorge from above, which is the way I visited the first time.  This makes for difficult access as you are at the top of the gorge.  On my repeat visit, I instead parked along the Fern Dell Rd right where the SNA abuts it.  Ironically, you might not even be able to tell that there is a gorge at this point as the terrain essentially levels out from north to south.  As you walk in, however, the terrain descends slightly and the rock walls seem to grow.  It was an alluring place to visit in winter as the fresh blanket of white powder coated nooks and crannies of the gorge while frozen seeps remain a harbinger of what was and what is to come.  This is one of two SNA’s within the state park, though the other , Mirror Lake Pine-Oak Forest, is across the lake and cannot be accessed via land from the main portions of the park.  I plan to revisit both of these sites next spring.

More of my photos from Fern Dell Gorge can be viewed here.

Additional Information

SNA # 407
County Sauk
Parking Roadside/Parking Lot w/in state park
Trails No
Easy to Find No
Best Seen By Foot
Marked Boundaries No
Ownership Wisconsin DNR
Located Within Mirror Lake State Park
Dates Visited 7.12.09 / 1.17.15

Sauk
Sauk County
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