Three to See: Onalaska

Sunny the Sunfish Statue

Sunny the Sunfish

You’ve made the decision to hit the open road and visit one (or all) of our dozen unique destinations. So what are you going to do once you get there? Here are three local highlights to help you plan your trip:

1. Great River State Trail. Nestled on the shores of the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin, Onalaska affords magnificent views of the fabled waterway, especially along the city’s section of the Great River State Trail. Stretching for 24 miles through the river cities of Onalaska and Trempealeau, the Great River State Trail is a popular destination for bicyclists and hikers in the summer and snowmobilers, snowshoers and a cross-country skiers in the winter. Visitors can travel through hardwood forests, across oak landscapes and past 500-foot rock bluffs during their trek.

2. Greens Coulee Park. One of the newer parks in Onalaska, Greens Coulee Park is a 67-acre site with a breathtaking view overlooking portions of the city. Multipurpose trails crisscross the wooded preserve, past wetlands and oak savannahs, before reaching the rock quarry at the summit. The site expanded by 51 acres in late 2009, and Onalaska’s parks department and the Mississippi Valley Conservancy are promoting the area as a destination for hiking, cross-country skiing and bird watching. Greens Coulee Road and Stonebridge Avenue; Onalaska Parks Department, (608) 781-9563

3. Sunny the Sunfish statue. No trip to Onalaska would be complete without a visit to the famous Sunny the Sunfish statue. Onalaska is known as the Sunfish Capital of the World, and Sunny greets visitors from his perch overlooking Lake Onalaska at a roadside stop just north of the city along Highway 35. You won’t find any fish Sunny’s size in the nearby lake – he is 12 feet high and 20 feet long – but Onalaska is known for its great angling opportunities.

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