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Top 9 Waterfalls Wisconsin Waterfalls Worth Chasing

Top 9 Waterfalls Wisconsin Waterfalls Worth Chasing

When you think of waterfalls, your mind most likely goes to Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls, or Angel Falls. It probably doesn’t think of Wisconsin waterfalls.

You’d be surprised by the waterfalls in Wisconsin. We actually have some good waterfalls! Here are the top 9 waterfalls in Wisconsin worth visiting. 

Waterfall at Willow River State Park in Hudson Wisconsin in fall

1. Willow Falls State Park Falls

Ten miles north of Hudson, Wisconsin, is the Willow Falls State Park, home to the extraordinary Willow Falls. Although the falls aren’t the tallest in the state (the drop is only 15 feet), they are known for their impressive width. Willow Falls is roughly 100 feet wide and drops down multiple tiers into the St. Croix River.

The journey to the falls is only one mile, so it’s relatively short compared to other trails in the state. Despite the trail being in good condition, the hike is a very steep downhill trek, which means it should be reserved for fit and healthy hikers. Once you reach the waterfalls, you’ll be rewarded with outstanding views and refreshingly cool waters, where you can swim or dip your feet.

Besides hiking, Willow Falls State Park is also a great place to have a picnic or go camping. With over 2,800 acres of nature trails, forests, rocky gorges, and rolling hills, you could easily spend a few days enjoying the blissful landscape. There’s also an on-site nature center with interactive exhibits and live animal programs where you can get up close and personal with snakes, turtles, and other reptiles.

  • Location: Hudson, Wisconsin 54016
  • Entrance Fee: $8 vehicle pass (WI license plate), $11 vehicle pass (out of state plates)

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Amnicon Falls State Park Wisconsin

2. Amnicon River Falls

Located at the mouth of Lake Superior is the Amnicon Falls Wisconsin State Park, which is home to four beautiful waterfalls – the Upper Amnicon, the Lower Amnicon, Snake Pit Falls, and Now and Then Falls. Each waterfall is created by the Amnicon River, which flows over 45 miles through the state.

Two of the most geologically important falls in the park are the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls. At Upper Falls, you’ll notice the dark basalt rock surrounding the flows of water, which was formed by volcanic lava billions of years ago. The drop at the Upper Falls is about 15 feet.

The Lower Falls plummets over layers of horizontal sandstone, a material commonly found around Lake Superior. The Lower Falls is also roughly 15 feet high, although the stream travels down into a pool for about 30 feet. For one of the best views in the park, cross the old bridge connecting the Upper Falls to the Lower Falls. On a warm summer day, it’s also possible to swim in the plunge pools of the Upper Falls.

During your trip to Amnicon Falls, you may spot a variety of wildlife, including deer, raccoons, foxes, and even sea beavers. Due to the sheer number and diversity of the waterfalls, Amnicon State Park is one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin.

  • Location: 4279 South Country Highway U, South Range
  • Entrance Fee: $8 vehicle pass (WI license plate), $11 vehicle pass (out of state plates)

Little Manitou Falls in Wisconsin

3. Manitou Falls

At 165 feet, the impressive Big Manitou Falls is the tallest waterfall in the state of Wisconsin. The name comes from Native American settlers who lived in the area. When they heard the thunderous roar from the falls, they decided to name it “Gitchee Manitou” or “Great Spirit.” In addition to Big Falls, you can hike to the Twin Little Manitou Falls. These falls are relatively smaller (31 feet high), but equally as stunning as their larger counterpart.

Manitou Falls is located in the Pattison State Park, roughly 13 miles south of Lake Superior. The water comes from the Black River and gushes across a gorge comprised of sandstone and black basalt rock.

As Manitou is one of the most popular waterfalls in Wisconsin, there has been a lot of renovation to make visiting the falls easier than ever. Some viewpoints over the waterfall can be easily accessed by car (they’re just several steps away from the parking lot), although it’s possible to trek to the bottom of the falls on the four-mile Manitou Falls Trail loop.

  • Location: 6294 S State Road 35, Superior
  • Entrance Fee: $8 vehicle pass (WI license plate), $11 vehicle pass (out of state plates)

View from above a waterfall in Copper Falls State park in Wisconsin

4. Copper Falls State Park

The Bad River flows 8.5 miles through the Cooper Falls State Park, creating multiple waterfalls easily seen by park visitors. The first drop along the river is the 29-foot Copper Falls. The cascade plunges down rugged canyons and jagged cliffs carved billions of years ago by black lava.

The river continues through the park and makes a few other drops at Tyler Fork Cascades and Brownstone Falls. It’s important to note that the geological composition of these waterfalls is starkly different from the main Copper Falls. Instead of black lava rock, you’ll find red lava gorges and bands of black shale.

Due to the giant rocky outcroppings, it can be challenging to get a good view over the falls. However, you can trek across the North Country Scenic and Doughboy’s Loops for picturesque viewpoints of the falls and river. On this trail, you’ll also find informational signs explaining the different geological features of the state park.

  • Location: 36683 Copper Falls Rd, Mellen
  • Entrance Fee: $8 vehicle pass (WI license plate), $11 vehicle pass (out of state plates)

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5. Peterson Falls on the Montreal River in Wisconsin

Nestled on the border of Wisconsin and Michigan is Peterson Falls. Formed by the Montreal River, Peterson Falls is a short but powerful stream of water. Although the drop is only 20 feet, the water levels are quite strong, which creates a giant rush of flowing water. Although most people refer to the falls as Peterson Falls, it is also known as Interstate Falls on some signage areas around the highway.

Although the falls sit right on the border between the two states, the best views are arguably from the Wisconsin side. Peterson Falls is located on private property from the Michigan side, which means access is strictly prohibited.

From the parking lot on this Wisconsin side, you’ll need to hike a short distance (½ mile), which takes about 10 minutes. Once you reach the falls, you’ll have multiple vantage points from where you can capture the perfect photo. There are no fences or barriers surrounding the falls, which means you can get right up to the top or base of the cascades. Peterson Falls is an easily accessible waterfall and an excellent option for those looking for a bit of peace and quiet.

  • Location: Ironwood Charter Township, MI
  • Entrance Fee: Free

Long Slide Falls Waterfall in Wisconsin

6. Long Slide Falls Niagara Wisconsin

Once you arrive at Long Slide Falls, you’ll see how this cascading waterfall received its name. Located a few miles north of Pembine, Wisconsin, Long Slide Falls resembles exactly that – a long slide! Its foamy water supplied by the Pemebonwon River pounds down 50 feet across sharp rocks and moss-covered cliffs.

The vantage point from the top of the falls is easily accessible, as it’s located just a few steps away from the parking lot of Morgan Park. If you want to trek to the base of the falls, the journey is a little more difficult. The Long Slide Falls Trail is a short 1/3 mile loop that descends 40 feet to the bottom of the falls. It’s advised to hike during clear days, as the trail can be muddy and slippery in bad weather.

It’s also important to be careful once you arrive at the base of the waterfall. The flow of running water is powerful and can be treacherous for young children or inexperienced hikers. However, you’ll be rewarded with dramatic views of one of the best waterfalls in Wisconsin!

  • Location: Niagara
  • Entrance Fee: $2 per person

7. Cascade Falls in Osceola

Tucked away inside the charming town of Osceola is the unique Cascade Falls. Supplied by the Osceola Creek, Cascade Falls flows through the Osceola Mill Pond and empties into the St. Croix River. The width of the falls is 30 feet, while the drop is roughly 25 feet.

Unlike other traditional waterfalls, this structure has an undercut, which creates a sharp drop for the water to flow over. For this reason, visitors are able to walk behind the falls underneath the ledge. Geologists believe that in the future, the stream of water will completely erode the edge of the rock, causing the entire structure supporting the waterfall to collapse.

The history of Cascade Falls is also worth noting: its discovery played an important role in Wisconsin’s history. The falls were discovered in 1884 by William Kent, which attracted more settlers who were drawn to the natural spring water. With so many different inhabitants, the settlers decided to found a small village, which is now known as Osceola.

While most visitors come to Cascade Falls during the day, it’s possible to visit at night. The town of Osceola installed LED lighting that illuminates the falls with a soft, warm glow. The lights can also be programmed to reflect the stages of the moon or mark the different seasons.

  • Hours: 24 hours
  • Location: 101 N Cascade St, Osceola
  • Entrance Fee: Free

Lands End Heritage Tour Wisconsin Road Trip Central Wisconsin 17

8. Stephens Falls in Governor Dodge State Park

There are plenty of excellent sites to see in Governor Dodge State Park, but the tranquil cascades at Stephens Falls have to be the most memorizing. At just a third of a mile long, the trek to the falls is relatively short, and the first part of the trail is smooth and paved. However, the stairway leading down to the falls is exceptionally steep and only uses natural stone steps or wood plank stairs. For this reason, the trail can be an issue for kids, older adults, or inexperienced hikers.

Once you reach Stephens Falls, you’ll have the opportunity to take pictures at the base of the pools. Although the waterfall isn’t as powerful or strong as other waterfalls in Wisconsin, it’s still a peaceful wildlife destination to explore. If you come during the winter, you’ll have the opportunity to see the falls from a completely unique perspective. Since the water from the stream freezes, you’ll actually be able to walk behind the sheet of frozen water.

The falls are named after the Stephens family, who owned a farm in the area for over 200 years until WWII. The natural spring water from the falls was used for the family as well as for the farm.

  • Hours: 24 hours
  • Location: Dodgeville
  • Entrance Fee: None

9. Potato River Falls in Gurney

As one of the largest waterfalls in the entire state, Potato River Falls should not be missed during your trip to Wisconsin. Its large stature and tiers of cascading streams make it one of the most impressive waterfalls in the area.

The crest of Potato River Falls is 100 feet, while the main drop is about 50 feet in height. However, the different levels and rocky outcrops are perfect for hiking and exploring. It’s common to see backpackers and travelers climbing across the center tier of the waterfall itself!

If you prefer to watch the waterfall from a safer distance, there are plenty of viewpoints to choose from. The lookout point from the parking lot is partially obstructed, so you’d be better off trekking down one of the provided trails for better views instead. There is one well-maintained trail that leads you directly into the gorge of the river. From there, you’ll find an observation deck boasting magnificent views over the waterfall. Keep in mind that if you want to get up to the base of the falls, you’ll need to walk through the river, as there is no river bank. Although it’s normally shallow, it can be very dangerous or strong, depending on the season and water flow.

  • Hours: 24 hours
  • Location: Gurney
  • Entrance Fee: Free

Have you chased a few waterfalls in Wisconsin? We’d love to hear about some of your favorite Wisconsin waterfalls. Please leave a comment below. We’re always looking to update our list and head off on a local adventure ourselves.

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[in for best waterfalls in Wisconsin - view from above copper falls

Fred Williams

Sunday 7th of February 2021

The shortest trail to the Willow River Falls is very steep, but there are other trails that are much easier.