Whether they’re roaring, rushing, or rippling over rocks, Wisconsin’s waterfalls offer the best of adventure in the great outdoors: fresh air, natural beauty, and the thrill of discovering something special off the beaten path, a hidden gem in the midst of a big, beautiful forest.
Making your way to our state’s most spectacular waterfalls can be a day’s activity, so be sure to wear your hiking shoes, pack a picnic, and bring your camera to get that perfect shot of the falls. Ready to go? Here’s our top picks for waterfall watching in Wisconsin!
Amnicon Falls State Park – South Range
Amnicon Falls State Park presents visitors with a series of waterfalls and rapids along the Amnicon River, and a covered footbridge that’s as picturesque as the falls.
Favorite falls: The Snake Pit Falls, on a narrow branch of the Amnicon, drop 25 feet with a dramatic turn half-way down.
While you’re there: Look for dark basalt at the Upper Falls and sandstone at the Lower Falls. The basalt is from lava that flowed a billion years ago, and the sandstone is from streams that flowed millions of years ago.
Copper Falls State Park – Mellen
Favorite falls: The Copper Falls, of course, which drop a total of 40 feet.
While you’re there: Admire bridges constructed in the 1920s by returning First World War veterans, and log buildings constructed in the 1930s.
Northwest Wisconsin's Iron County features a dozen gorgeous waterfalls among the Potato, Montreal, Turtle, and Forks rivers.
Favorite falls: The Upper and Lower Potato River Falls in Hurley drop a total of 90 feet into the Potato River, and waterfall fans consider them some of the most beautiful in the Midwest.
While you’re there: Get your photo with the 16’ fiberglass “Claire d’Loon” in Mercer, the self-proclaimed Loon Capital of the World.
Marinette County, also known as Wisconsin’s Waterfall Capital, offers a self-guided Waterfalls Tour map. Give yourself two or three days to take in all of the falls – or choose one of the mini-tours for a good sampling.
Favorite falls: The Long Slide Falls in Morgan Park, Pembine, cascade down 50 feet of rock formations.
While you’re there: See a piece of the Yellow Brick Road at the Land of OZ Museum in Wausaukee.
Pattison State Park – Superior
Pattison State Park is home to creatures great and small, with an amazing variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. It’s also home to the Big and Little Manitou Falls.
Favorite falls: The impressive Big Manitou Falls drop 165 feet, making them Wisconsin’s highest.
While you’re there: Hit the beach. Interfalls Lake boasts a 300-foot sand beach with a beautiful bathhouse and a picnic area.
Getting to the Falls
Be prepared to do some hiking through the woods, and be safe! With uneven surfaces and slippery rocks, the areas around waterfalls call for special care. Stay back and watch your footing while you’re seeking out the perfect view.
Looking for more waterfall adventures? Check out these picnic-perfect waterfall spots!