Summer might be over, but it doesn’t need to be hot to enjoy the refreshing sight of a cascading waterfall. If you live in Wisconsin, you’re in luck. The state is home to hundreds of falls. Some of them boast enormous drops and plunging slides, others trickle more than they cascade. Whether you’re after something big and awe-inspiring or small and charming, you’ll find plenty to please on our guide to the 10 most awesome waterfalls in Wisconsin.
10. Copper Falls
Copper Falls State Park would be worth a visit even if it wasn’t home to Copper Falls. As it is, it should be considered a mandatory destination for any nature fan within traveling distance. Surrounded by rugged landscapes and set in a picturesque gorge scooped out by the Bad River, the multi-tiered falls are picture-perfect. Access to the ravine is prohibited but there’s plenty of viewing spots scattered around the surrounding trails.
9. Morgan Falls
As PlanetWare notes, St. Peter’s Dome Recreation Area boasts some of the most scenic views in Wisconsin, not to mention one of its most impressive waterfalls. When you arrive at the park, you’ll have a choice between two trails. The first leads to a picturesque overlook at the top of St. Peter’s Dome. The second leads you through ferns and towering trees to Morgan Falls. The falls are narrow, but what they lack in width they make up for in height. Standing 70-foot high, the falls cascade over mossy granite ledges to reach the shimmering pool far below. It’s a glorious sight, and one that certainly warrants a picture or two.
8. Willow Falls
Waterfalls don’t get much more dramatic than Willow Falls. Consisting of multiple layers and drops, it spans a mighty 100 feet in width – if you can, visit after rainfall to see it at its most impressive. The falls’ setting in Willow River State Park near Hudson is sensational, so allow plenty of time to explore it in its entirety. Accessing the falls is easy, and you’ll find numerous trailheads that lead there. The quarter-mile, paved path that leads to the gorge is the easiest for kids and seniors to tackle.
7. Upson Falls
Iron County in northern Wisconsin is blessed with more waterfalls than anywhere else in the state, along with 5 of the 10 tallest. The 18 foot high, 50 foot wide Upson Falls on the Potato River is one of the most spectacular. It’s easily accessed via the Upton Falls Park and campground. While you’re in the area, be sure to check out some of its other notable falls, in particular Little Balsam Falls, Wild Wren Falls, and Foster Falls, all of which are within easy reach of Upton.
6. Lost Creek Falls
Lost Creek Falls is a small, gorgeously serene set of falls located just a few miles south of Cornucopia. They’re not particularly dramatic, but they’re exceptionally pretty, boasting a 15-foot wall of water that cascades over a gorgeously romantic mossy cave. To reach the falls, you’ll need to hike the 2.2 trail accessed via the trailhead at Trail Drive off County Road C. Not many people make the effort, making it a great choice for waterfall enthusiasts looking to enjoy a few hours in nature without any noise or distractions.
5. Cascade Falls
Located in the little village of Osceola, Cascade Falls is a must-visit for anyone in Polk County. Osceola was actually founded around the falls, and today, it’s still as significant as ever, with flocks of tourists descending on the village each year to admire the beauty of the falls. Once you arrive in the village, take the set of stairs leading to the right of the main road into the canyon at the base of the falls. From there, you can continue along the pretty trail on the banks of the St. Croix River.
4. Potato River Falls
The upper and lower waterfalls of Potato River Falls drop over 90 feet in total, making it one of the tallest falls in the state and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. The falls are at their most dramatic in spring, but the kaleidoscopic colors of the surrounding woodland make it equally visit-worthy in fall. The best place to view the falls is at the parking lot’s observation deck. More adventurous visitors can take the short trail to the gorge below, but be warned – the path can be treacherously slippery, so be sure to wear sturdy shoes.
3. Big Smokey Falls
Named as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Wisconsin by Vacation Idea, Big Smokey Falls in Menominee Reservation is breathtaking. Fed by the Wolf River, it’s neither particularly high nor particularly steep, but the sheer volume of water cascading down the jutting rocks makes for an arresting sight. The bridge that crosses the falls is the ideal place to take a few photos – you’ll need to pay a small fee to cross it during the tourist season, but it’s worth it. Walk just a little upstream and you’ll find a second, equally impressive waterfall in the shape of Wolf River Dells.
2. Amnicon Falls
Named as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Wisconsin by Attractions of America, Amnicon Falls is a must-visit for anyone within traveling distance of the town of Superior. Tucked away in Amnicon Falls State Park, this series of four waterfalls (the Upper and Lower Amnicon Falls, Now and Then Falls, and the Snake Pit Falls) makes for an incredibly dramatic sight. To appreciate its full glory, take up position on the quaint little bridge crossing the Amnicon River. In summer, visitors can swim beneath the falls in the glistening pool at their base.
1. Manitou Falls
Rounding off our list of the 10 most awesome waterfalls to check out in Wisconsin is the biggest fall in the state and the fourth tallest in the US, Manitou Falls. Standing at an impressive 165 feet tall, the falls are divided into two separate sections – Big Manitou (which is as tall as Niagara Falls and, according to some, just as spectacular) and Little Manitou, a smaller but no less charming cascade located just a little upstream of its big sister. The falls are worth a visit at any time of year, but the sight of their frozen crystal drops in winter is particularly impressive. Regardless of when you go, be sure to leave plenty of time to explore their home in Pattison State Park, which offers multiple opportunities for outdoor adventure.