7 Scenic Natural Wonders of Marinette County

By Amy Bayer
Staff Writer

With so many waterfalls and parks in one county, it’s impossible to explore them all in one day. Take your time to experience this natural playground that is home to 231,500 acres of forest, 12,370 acres of lakes, 623 miles of trout streams, 13 county parks and 12 waterfalls with public access.

With increased water levels in the spring, use caution in this wild part of the state known as nature’s waterpark. To help you plan your trip, we’re providing seven natural scenic wonders to start your tour of Marinette County.

1. Peshtigo Harbor State Wildlife Area

Located south of Peshtigo along the Lower Peshtigo River where it drains into Green Bay, this natural haven boasts approximately 5,000 acres of land that also includes the Bloch Oxbow and Peshtigo River Delta Marshes state natural areas.

There are several trails in the area to accommodate a variety of nature enthusiasts from the 11-mile Peshtigo River Canoe Trail to the 2-mile Hemlock Curve Nature Hiking Trail to the Woods Road Cross-Country Ski Trail. If you’re looking for a natural adventure, explore the Peshtigo Harbor.

2. Morgan County Park and Long Slide County Park

These two county parks near Niagara in northern Marinette County are just two miles apart, offering a variety of natural experiences. Morgan County Park is an outdoor family destination with campsites and a swimming beach, as well as natural features like Timm’s Lake, the Pemebonwon River, rock outcroppings, a scenic overlook and hiking trails.

Immediately to the west along Morgan Park Road is Long Slide County Park, whose main feature is Long Slide Falls. These rugged falls are exactly as the name suggests: a 50-foot waterfall slide through large rocks and steep slopes.

The falls are not far from the parking area, and there is no railing so visitors are cautioned to watch their step as they explore the slippery area. Visitors also can hike or drive a half-mile to the east to visit Smalley Falls, with a smaller 10-foot drop.

To the south of Long Slide Falls is the Long Slide Trail System, developed as a part of the County Forest Wildlife Habitat Program. Several old logging roads created walking trails that showcase wildlife, swamps, and rock outcroppings.

3. Governor Thompson State Park

Adjacent to the Peshtigo River State Forest several miles northwest of Crivitz, Governor Thompson State Park was established on the centennial anniversary of the Wisconsin State Park System in 2000.

Located on the Caldron Falls Flowage and Peshtigo River, there are also two kettle lakes within the park’s boundaries, and several miles of hiking trails and granite outcroppings to explore. With more than 2,800 acres of forested land, this is a great natural escape in northeast Wisconsin. 

Located just a few miles to the west of the park is Thunder Mountain Overlook. It is the highest point in Marinette County, and its scenic trails provide incredible views.

4. McClintock & Goodman County Parks

Known as the “bridge park,” McClintock County Park has four bridges that span a series of rapids on the Peshtigo River. Located north of the Town of Silver Cliff, the park has 10 rustic campsites located right along the river, as well as excellent trout fishing and direct access to the area’s ATV Trails, including the Homestead Trail.

Just another four miles north is Goodman Park, another county property with a scenic bridge over Strong Falls. With so many parks, rivers and waterfalls in the area there is always something to see and do.

5. Seagull Bar State Natural Area/Red Arrow Park

Red Arrow Park is located on the easternmost tip of Marinette as it juts into Green Bay. A peninsula park with sandy beaches and nature trails, the park is adjacent to the Seagull Bar State Natural Area, a marsh that attracts thousands of birds during spring and fall migration.

With sand ridges, wetlands and a lagoon, it is a bird lover’s paradise. Walk the trails or shoreline and be sure to bring your binoculars for a close-up view of all the wildlife and far-away glimpses of Door County across the bay.

6. Twelve foot Falls County Park

When you’re looking to get off the beaten path, head to Twelve Foot Falls County Park west of Pembine. Several miles of the route to the park are not paved, so be prepared to kick up some dirt and gravel on your way.

This park is home to two more of Marinette County’s waterfalls: the park’s namesake as well as the smaller Eight Foot Falls. Both have plenty of easy access and vantage points along the hiking trails in the park.

The area offers rustic campsites, trout fishing and scenic trails along the Northern Branch of the Pike River. If this destination isn’t remote enough for you, just head a mile north along more unpaved roads to see the Eighteen Foot Falls.

7. Lake Noquebay State Wildlife Area

East of Crivitz, Lake Noquebay is a popular 2,400-acre recreational lake with four separate boat landings, as well as a county park to the south and two state natural areas to the east: the Lake Noquebay Sedge Meadow and the Lake Noquebay State Wildlife Area.

The wildlife area has several trails that provide miles of exploration through the marsh, swamp and a meadow. Just a few miles north of the wildlife area is the Lake Mary Trail system in the Marinette County Forest that guides hikers through an aspen grove and conifer swamp. This is the perfect spot for a remote hike, although be careful in the spring or during rainy seasons, because the swampy landscape can get extremely muddy.

 

Want to read more? Check out these seven statewide natural wonders, and subscribe for the latest installments as we roll out more articles on scenic wonders by county.