Kessler Railroad Prairie encompasses a wet-mesic prairie along a former railroad grade in central Rock County. A small area to pull off the road is avaiable in front of an access gate. A 1.1 mile stretch of prairie lines the old grade including several crossings of ditches and streams via the old trestle ties.
Though over 100 flora species have been observed at this site, I found it to be underwhelming during my mid-June visit. The most abundant species were not things that one would go out of their way to see: common milkweed, common spiderwort, lesser goat’s beard, bittersweet nightshade, common dewberry, and dwarf prairie rose. It also appeared quite neglected. The trail is level and straight, though, as mentioned, there are a few crossings on the old trestle ties over a few ditches and streams that resembled pea soup. Along the trail, the prairie slopes down slightly to the agricultural fields that surround the site. I know that some work is scheduled to occur this year and perhaps some has been accomplished in the more recent past. In light of that, another visit is likely in the cards, perhaps at a different time of year.
More of my photos (and full-res) from Kessler Railroad Prairie can be viewed here.
|Natural Communities / Geology||Wet-Mesic Prairie|
|Easy to Find||Yes|
|Best Seen By||Foot|