If the colors of autumn aren’t enough, why not throw in a beautiful waterfall? Across northern Wisconsin, heading west to east, you can find an abundance of these natural wonders.
The geological wonder that is Amnicon Falls State Park lies north of US-2 and serves as a scenic rest stop or a night’s stay in the campground. From a covered bridge you can see the Upper Falls to one side, and the Lower Falls to the other—the former falling over ancient volcanic rock; the latter, Lake Superior sandstone. Hike the short loop trail and see a third falls on the Amnicon River, and in rainy periods, a fourth, the appropriately named Now and Then Falls.
Don’t Miss: Farther east along US-2 in Iron River is White Winter Winery, makers of a variety of meads (sweet and dry honey wines), plus spirits and non-alcoholic spritzers. Eat at the Delta Diner southeast of there, a 1940s aluminum diner with food worth traveling hours for (and people do!).
While the namesake cascade at Copper Falls State Park is indeed impressive from where you look down on it from the hiking trail above the 100-foot gorge, it’s usually the 30-foot Brownstone Falls people come to see. The former is on the Bad River; the latter is a short walk away on Tyler Forks, where it joins the Bad River and flows north to Lake Superior.
Don’t Miss: For some comfort food or a Friday fish fry, head up US-13 a few miles to High Bridge Oasis.
Big Manitou Falls
You’ll hear the thundering water long before you see it. Tumbling 165 feet, this is the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi. The trails here at Pattison State Park bring you close enough to look down into the gorge and see the rush of whitewater from several different angles. Extend your hike into the park and you can also see Little Manitou Falls.
Don’t Miss: Head north to Superior to the Anchor Bar, famous for its creative burgers. Try the cashew and Swiss burger and some fresh-cut fries. Be sure to see the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center, named for the Wisconsin native and America’s greatest flying ace to date.
Marinette County Waterfalls
Here lies the highest concentration of waterfalls in the state. There are 15 named falls spread throughout the county, most of them reachable in a single day if you get an early start. Hikes to each range from a dozen steps to a half-mile. From Long Slide Falls cascading 50 feet through a narrow cut in the rock to the easily accessible rushing whitewater of Dave’s Falls, the self-guided tour explores one of the more remote corners of Wisconsin.
Don’t Miss: The rich forest here was once laid low by one of the most devastating fires in American history—head south to learn more at the Peshtigo Fire Museum. Stop for pizza at Peppino’s while you’re in town.
Lost Creek Falls
Simple and elegant, and highly photogenic if you catch it right, this eight-foot waterfall lies at the end of a 2.2mile out-and-back hike into pristine forest. The creek slips over a ledge with enough space that you can stand behind the waterfall.
Don’t Miss: Halvorson Fisheries out of Cornucopia sells its catch—whitefish, lake trout, and salmon—fresh, frozen or smoked.
Potato River Falls
Northeast of Copper Falls State Park is this awesome series of whitewater cascades. The Upper Falls drops 20 feet at a time, twice, while the Lower Falls plunges 30 feet in one go. Views of either can be reached by some stairs and dirt trails from the parking lot.
Don’t Miss: Head up to Ashland to see a city full of murals, taste the brews at South Shore Brewery and stop for coffee at the Black Cat Coffeehouse.
This waterfall is unlike all the others. Inside the Chequamegon National Forest in a shaded gorge, Morgan Creek descends over 70 feet along a narrow trough carved into the gorge wall, almost as if someone channeled it that way. Near trail level it then pours out of the side of that channel into a pool before you.
Don’t Miss: While the hike to the falls is just over a mile round-trip, you shouldn’t miss the climb up St. Peter’s Dome on the same trail. From the top you have a clear view out over the forest all the way to Lake Superior.
This article originally appeared in the 2018 fall/winter issue of Experience Wisconsin magazine. The contents of this article were checked for accuracy when it was published; however, it’s possible some of the information has changed. We recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the destinations, attractions or restaurants mentioned in this article.
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