Turkey Vulture Trail is most easily accessible from the winter parking area, which requires a current Wisconsin State Parks sticker to park a vehicle there. It can also be reached from the main park (open approximately late April to late October) by crossing Carter Creek at the bridge (pick up a trail map).
Please stay on the marked trails at all times until you are near the cache, even though you may be tempted to take a more direct route. Avoid walking in cross country ski tracks, if any are present. Obey all park rules at all times.
The search for this traditional cache will take visitors to an area of Roche-A-Cri State Park that many people don’t have the chance to see if they limit their time to the park road and mound area, with its many activities of camping, picnicking, hiking, and climbing the stairway. If it’s your first visit to the park, by all means enjoy all that it has to offer, but take some time to explore this area south of the creek. The trail itself is easy terrain (will be sandy in spots) and a nice distance to hike. Bring your camera to remember your time here, and you may even get some shots you want to enter in the park’s annual photo contest!
Trail maps, “The Visitor” newspaper, and Information on the annual photography contest can be picked up at the kiosk in the winter parking area or at the main office information board.
Turkey Vulture Trail is named for the large birds that call the mounds in this area home. They can be seen perched on the rocky outcroppings but are most visible when they are soaring on the warm air thermals in early afternoon. The birds frequently “commute” from Roche-A-Cri Mound to Friendship Mound half a mile south, and then return home.
The trail makes a loop east into the woods along the high ground overlooking Carter Creek. In spring wildflowers such as blood root and hepatica make brief appearances to the tune of spring peepers and wood frogs. In summer the canopy provides shade from the sun; then the oaks blaze with all-to-brief fall color before winter sets in. If there is good snow cover, this trail is the place to view animal tracks, deer trails and deer beds, and maybe the critters themselves. Hike or ski and see views of the mound and the creek that are unavailable in the leafy seasons.
At the eastern end of Turkey Vulture Trail, the loop returns west along the planted prairie area. Here nesting boxes are set up for bluebirds and swallows, and the prairie plants put on seasonal shows for the amateur and enthusiast alike. There is information on the prairie planting near the winter parking area.
The Geocache Notification Form has been submitted to Park Manager Joe Stecker-Kochanski of the Wisconsin DNR. Geocaches placed on Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource managed lands require permission by means of a notification form. Please print out a paper copy of the notification form, fill in all required information, then submit it to the land manager. The DNR Notification form and land manager information can be obtained at: http://www.wi-geocaching.com/hiding