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Rush Creek is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1981.


Rush Creek Bluff State Natural Area, a 3,187-acre bluffland preserve, is in Crawford County near the Mississippi River.

Activities Allowed

  • Hiking
  • Showshoeing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Wildlife observation
  • Hunting
  • Trapping
  • Fishing
  • Scientific research (permit required)
  • Outdoor education
  • Wild edibles
  • Pets

Activities NOT Allowed

  • 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
  • Drones: Flying-related activities, including the use of drones, hang-gliders and model airplanes, are prohibited.
    Permission may be issued by the SNA Program for the use of drones for educational or research purposes.
  • Geocaching
  • Horseback riding
  • Rock climbing
  • Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use
Learn More

Rush Creek Bluff SNA

The outstanding feature of Rush Creek is a two-mile long series of southwest facing limestone-capped bluffs of the Mississippi River. These “goat prairies”, named for their steep, rocky terrain, are part of the most extensive dry prairie remnants left in the state.

You can access the SNA from the parking area on Highway 35 or from the intersection of State Highway 35 and County Highway C in Ferryville, go north on Highway 35 3.1 miles, then northeast on Rush Creek Road 0.5 mile to a parking area west of the road. Cross the road and walk east on a trail and you will eventually reach the top of the bluff.

The trail seems to go in the wrong direction at first, but it will get there after a pretty strenuous but thankfully short (0.5 mile) climb. Once you reach the top, there are several forks in the trail that will take you to various blufftop overlooks.

Be careful of your footing when you reach the blufftop, as there is no rail for safety and you will undoubtedly be gazing with wide eyes at the panoramic views of the Mississippi River.

Enjoy the view!