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Bradley Creek Swamp Conifers

No. 585


Photo by Thomas A. Meyer/DNR


Bradley Creek Swamp Conifers features a clear, hard-water spring-fed trout stream and a tributary to the Little Wolf River. A dense canopy lines Bradley Creek and shades a diverse understory of herbs and forbs. The creek is considered a Class I trout stream for its entire 6-mile length and contains a bottom of silt-covered sand, gravel, and rubble. Brook trout, stoneflies, mayflies, caddisflies, and shrimp are present. In-stream cover consisting of undercut banks, rocks, and logs is common.

Trees include balsam fir, white pine, hemlock, yellow-bud hickory, and red maple. The moss-covered understory contains wild sarsaparilla, three-leaved goldthread, nodding trillium, partridgeberry, royal fern, sensitive fern, maidenhair fern, wild ginger, naked miterwort, early meadow-rue, swamp betony, and northern ragwort. The rich forest supports a variety of breeding birds such as winter wren, yellow-billed cuckoo, black-billed cuckoo, hermit thrush, black and white warbler, Nashville warbler, black-throated green warbler, and ovenbird. Bradley Creek Swamp Conifers is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2008.

Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for a variety of recreational activities as indicated below. Generally, there are no picnic areas, restrooms, or other developments. Parking lots or designated parking areas are noted on individual SNA pages and maps. Trails, if present, are typically undesignated footpaths. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map under the Maps tab. A compass and topographic map or a GPS unit are useful tools for exploring larger, isolated SNAs.

The good majority of SNAs are isolated and have few or no facilities. Some SNAs have vehicle access lanes or parking lots, but their accessibility may vary depending on weather conditions. Parking lots and lanes are not plowed during winter. Hiking trails may be nonexistent or consist of undeveloped footpaths. A GPS unit or compass and a detailed topographic map are useful tools for exploring larger SNAs.

Entrance fees: Except for Parfrey's Glen, the Cambrian Outlook in the Dells of the Wisconsin River, SNAs within State Parks and some within State Forests, all other DNR-owned SNAs do not have any admission fees. For more information, see Wis. Admin. Code NR 45. For non-DNR-owned SNAs, we are unaware of any vehicle or admission fees. However, please contact the landowner for more information.

Allowable activities: DNR-owned land

The activities listed below are generally allowed on all DNR-owned SNA lands. Exceptions to this list of public uses, such as SNAs closed to hunting, are noted above and posted with signs on the property site.

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Hunting
  • Trapping
  • Scientific research (permit required)
  • Outdoor education
  • Wild edibles (What is this?)
  • Pets (Rules)
  • Wildlife viewing

Prohibited activities: all SNAs

  • Camping and campfires
  • Collecting of animals (other than legally harvested species), non-edible fungi, rocks, minerals, fossils, archaeological artifacts, soil, downed wood, or any other natural material alive or dead.
  • Collecting for scientific research requires a permit issued by the DNR
  • Collecting of plants including seeds, roots or other non-edible parts of herbaceous plants such as wildflowers or grasses
  • Geocaching
  • Horseback riding
  • Rock climbing
  • Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use.

For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR].


Within the Little Wolf River Fishery Area, Portage County. T25N-R10E, Section 13. 21 acres.

Driving directions

From the junction of State Highways 66 and 49 just east of Rosholt, go east on 49 for 0.3 miles, then east and north on Stony Hill Road (formerly County Highway NN) for 1.8 miles, then north on Hill Road for 0.6 miles. Park in the DNR lot and walk northeast a quarter mile to the creek.

The DNR's state natural areas program is comprised of lands owned by the state, private conservation organizations, municipalities, other governmental agencies, educational institutions, and private individuals. While the majority of SNAs are open to the public, access may vary according to individual ownership policies. Public use restrictions may apply due to public safety, or to protect endangered or threatened species or unique natural features. Lands may be temporarily closed due to specific management activities.

Users are encouraged to contact the landowner for more specific details. The data shown on these maps have been obtained from various sources, and are of varying age, reliability, and resolution. The data may contain errors or omissions and should not be interpreted as a legal representation of legal ownership boundaries. To create your custom map where you can zoom to a specific location, please use the DNR's Mapping Application.

Property map [PDF]


Bradley Creek Swamp Conifers is owned by: Wisconsin DNR