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Blue River Sand Barrens State Natural Area

The unstable, sandy soil of this 130-acre terrace along the Wisconsin River is one of the state’s largest and best examples of a dry prairie-like landscape and “moving” sand dune communities. Moving sands are shaped by the wind, creating “blowouts” or large unvegetated depressions. A scattered forest of black and Hill’s oaks help to stabilize the sand in other areas providing habitat for false heather and bearberry that have adapted to the dry and harsh conditions. Reptiles like the six-lined racerunner live here along with many species of grassland birds and river turtles that nest in the dunes.

Blue Rivers Sand Barrens State Natural Area map

Directions: From Blue River, go east on Hwy 133 for 1.9 miles, then north on Wightman Road 0.25 mile to the southeast corner of the site. Parking is along the road. This property lies within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway.

Gazetteer: Page 33, C-6 (prior to 10th edition). | Page 83, C-7 (10th edition).

Phone: 608/375-4123 (DNR).

Web Site: WDNR Blue River Sand Barrens State Natural Area

Signature Species: Eastern prickly pear cactus, Hill’s oak, Clay-colored, Vesper and Lark Sparrows, Bobolinks and Upland Sandpipers.

Seasonality: Open all year during daylight hours.

Parking: Park along road at the southeast corner of the property.

Nearest food & lodging: Muscoda 7 miles east, or Boscobel 7 miles west.