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14 Best Waterfalls in Wisconsin

Written by Anietra Hamper
Jan 27, 2020

There are spectacular waterfalls throughout Wisconsin that are great to seek out or accidentally stumble upon during a day hike. Regions like the remote Northwoods and the naturally stunning Door County provide the perfect environments for flowing water with all kinds of formations. There's a cluster of waterfalls in northern Wisconsin near the Potato River that would make a nice vacation to visit in a single trip.

Not all of Wisconsin's most spectacular waterfalls are hidden gems in forests. Some of them are in the center of small towns, and others were created to serve a purpose, like operating mills or powering the mining equipment at quarries.

Throughout the state, you will find waterfalls that are rustic and wild, defined by the steep cliffs and gorges that make them fierce, and others that are quiet, tranquil, and unassuming. Get out your map to plot an unforgettable vacation with our list of the best waterfalls in Wisconsin.

1. Big Manitou Falls

Big Manitou Falls

The largest waterfall in Wisconsin, Big Manitou Falls is worth the trek up to the northern fringe of the state to experience. The waterfall is 165 feet high within Pattison State Park. The park is open year-round, which means that you can catch the waterfall rushing after the summer rains and a frozen display in the winter.

Big Manitou Falls is not just revered in Wisconsin, but it is recognized as the fourth highest waterfall in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.

The state park also features Little Manitou Falls, which is worth checking out while you are here. It is a 31-foot, twin waterfall tucked away in the 1,400-acre forest. The Big Manitou Falls is located close to the town of Superior, which has lodging and other outdoor adventures since it is located on the shores of Lake Superior.

Address: 6294 S. State Road. 35, Superior, Wisconsin

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Superior

2. Copper Falls State Park

Copper Falls

A trip to Copper Falls State Park is ideal for waterfall enthusiasts because there are three great waterfalls to see in one stop. The Copper Falls, Brownstone Falls, and Red Granite Falls are all within the park, and they each have unique features. Copper Falls State Park is located in northern Wisconsin near the town of Ashland in one of the most scenic spots in the entire state.

You can access both Copper Falls and Brownstone Falls from the multi-use Waterfall Trail at the north end of the park. Red Granite Falls can be accessed from the 2.5-mile Red Granite Falls Trail at the south end of the park.

The park has 17 miles of hiking trails and great scenery, including steep gorges and buildings from the 1930s that are still on the park land.

Address: 36764 Copper Falls Road, Mellen, Wisconsin

3. Upson Falls

Upson Falls | chumlee10 / photo modified

If you plan a visit to see Upson Falls in northern Wisconsin, you should make a day of it and capture several others in the region. Iron County has the most waterfalls of anywhere in the state and five of the 10 tallest waterfalls. Upson Falls is a great starting point near the community of Upson. It is an 18-foot waterfall located on the Potato River.

Several other close waterfalls in the area are Rouse Falls, a few miles west of Upson; Little Balsam Falls, which has a nice walking trail; wild Wren Falls, near the Forks River; and Foster Falls, a 25-foot-high waterfall on the Potato River not far from Upson.

If you have a little more time, you can head east near the Michigan state line to Gile Falls.

4. Morgan Falls

Morgan Falls

Visitors to Morgan Falls near Marengo are treated to more than just a beautiful waterfall when they arrive. The environment of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and the overlook at St. Peter's Dome are must-see sites in the area as well. Morgan Falls is a 70-foot waterfall with incredible views of the Apostle Islands and Lake Superior. The falls are located about 15 miles south of Ashland.

The narrow falls weave through granite ledges, cascading all the way to the bottom in a small pool. The trail to get to Morgan Falls is 1.2 miles round-trip and is quite accessible. Your walk will immerse you in the beauty of ferns and rare vegetation on the forest floor and the stillness of nature in the national forest.

Address: County Line Road, Marengo, Wisconsin

5. Willow Falls

Willow Falls in Willow River State Park

The multi-level Willow Falls is one of the most dramatic and beautiful in all of Wisconsin. It is located within Willow River State Park near Hudson in northwestern Wisconsin. This stunning waterfall has several drops and spans approximately 100 feet across. It is an impressive sight, especially after heavy rainfall.

Getting to Willow Falls is fairly easy. There are several trailheads in Willow River State Park that lead back to the falls, including a short, quarter-mile, paved path that takes you into the gorge. This is one of the most easily accessible and impressive waterfalls in the state.

Address: 1034 County Road A, Hudson, Wisconsin

6. Twelve Foot Falls

Twelve Foot Falls

One of the best sliding waterfalls in Wisconsin is Twelve Foot Falls, located near Dunbar in the northeast part of the state. Its name is a giveaway for what to expect when you see the falls, which measure 12 feet high. After a heavy rain, the rushing falls have whitecaps that flow through the forested surroundings.

You can access the waterfall from the walking trails in Twelve Foot Falls County Park in Marinette County. You will need to purchase a day use sticker to access the park.

Just down the road from Twelve Foot Falls is Eighteen Foot Falls, a waterfall located off a rocky area of Twelve Foot Falls Road. The falls are a half mile back from the road and represent a serene and sloping waterfall.

Address: Twelve Foot Falls Road, Dunbar, Wisconsin

7. Amnicon Falls

Amnicon Falls

The rushing water of Amnicon Falls is breathtaking. The falls are part of the Amnicon River and are located in the Amnicon Falls State Park in far northeast Wisconsin near Superior. There are actually four waterfalls in this park. Several of them drop off before Amnicon Falls. There are Upper and Lower Amnicon Falls, Now and Then Falls, and Snake Pit Falls.

A nice characteristic of Amnicon Falls is that the upper falls drop about 15 feet, with a plunge pool where visitors can swim. The lower part of Amnicon Falls is also about 15 feet high and is a slide of about 30 feet, so the image is dramatic. A nice vantage point for the falls is the bridge across the river between two of the drops.

Address: 4279 South County Highway U, South Range, Wisconsin

8. Long Slide Falls

Long Slide Falls

Like other waterfalls in Wisconsin, the name of Long Slide Falls pretty much describes what to expect when you see it. This waterfall, which is part of the Lake Michigan Watershed, stretches for about 50 feet in an extended slide of rushing water over large rock formations and boulders.

This waterfall can be tough to access due to the uneven and rocky terrain with steep drop-offs. You will want to wear proper footwear and be mindful that there are no barriers between you and the ledges to the water. This dramatic waterfall is located in Long Slide Falls County Park in the town of Pembine.

9. Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls

A beautiful waterfall located near the St. Croix River is Cascade Falls in western Wisconsin in the town of Osceola. This waterfall is not only pretty but it is easy to find since it is located in the center of town along Route 35. You can access the waterfall from the main road through town. You will find a set of stairs that takes you to the base for viewing the falls.

While Cascade Falls is a main scenic stop in Osceola, it once served a practical purpose when the village was founded. There was an old mill operated by the water, which you can still see remnants of today when you visit.

10. Potato Falls

Potato Falls

The stunning Potato Falls in northern Wisconsin is worth being a specific destination on your itinerary. The waterfall that flows out of the Potato River is 90 feet high, with cascading and plunging falls into the water below. The waterfall is not only dramatic in appearance but it is also quite large, so exploring around it is exciting. It is located within the town park in Gurney, Wisconsin.

The falls are made up of the Upper Potato Falls and Lower Potato Falls. There are trails to access both, but the terrain in the area can be tricky for unprepared hikers. One of the best ways to safely view the waterfalls is from the observation deck located near the parking lot.

Address: Potato River Falls Road, Gurney, Wisconsin

11. Superior Falls

Superior Falls | Ryan Afflerbaugh / photo modified

Lake Superior is its own natural attraction in Wisconsin, but the nearby Superior Falls is another if you enjoy uncovering some of the best water scenery in the state. Superior Falls is a consistently flowing waterfall located on the Montreal River near the Wisconsin/Michigan state line.

The combined drops in the falls plunge about 90 feet, and you will witness several major drop-offs as Superior Falls stretches downstream. There are steep cliffs surrounding the falls, so exercise caution while trekking to the site. You can access the falls from highway 122 in Wisconsin, where you will cross into Michigan for about a half mile to the parking lot for Superior Falls.

Address: Highway 122, Saxton, Wisconsin

12. Wequiock Falls

Wequiock Falls

The Wequiock Falls waterfall is special because it is created by the Niagara Escarpment, which is responsible for so much of the landscape in several parts of Wisconsin. The waterfall is located in the small Wequiock Falls Park in Brown County, which is close to the city of Green Bay. The flow of the waterfall is most prominent after a lot of rain.

Access to Wequiock Falls is easy, and there are several ways to enjoy it. You can walk down the stairs for a close view from the gorge or observe Wequiock Falls from the bridge above it. Spring is the best opportunity to see the waterfall at its most picturesque time, as it begins to slow during the summer and warmer weather.

Address: 3426 Bay Settlement Road, Green Bay, Wisconsin

13. Lost Creek Falls

Lost Creek Falls

Hidden away in the woodlands near Cornucopia in Wisconsin is Lost Creek Falls. The name sounds like a movie title, and the scenic falls is worthy of movie credits. The eight-foot falls drops to a cascading rock platform, where the water continues to descend into a pool below.

You can access the trailhead to Lost Creek Falls from Tail Drive in the city. The trail is well-marked, and it is approximately 2.5 miles round-trip to and from the parking lot. It is a nice scenic hike through the woods back to the waterfall.

Address: Trail Drive, Cornucopia, Wisconsin

14. Montello Granite Quarry Waterfalls

Montello Granite Quarry Waterfalls

The Montello Granite Quarry Waterfalls are a collection of four waterfalls that are unique in Wisconsin. They were once rapids along the Montello River, used as a power source for the machinery for the quarry. Now, they are scenic waterfalls along the historic site.

The waterfalls are accented by the granite that surrounds them. The quarry is no longer in use, so it is now a public park called Daggett Memorial Park or Montello Granite Park. You can stroll around the park to learn about the history of the town, the quarry, and the quiet waterfalls.

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Wisconsin Itinerary: As you plan your vacation to some of Wisconsin's top waterfalls, there are so many other towns and attractions to see along the way. There is no doubt you will pass through larger towns like Green Bay or Milwaukee on the way to your destination, but if you have the time, you may also want to stop in some of the top-rated small towns in Wisconsin like Sturgeon Bay and Lake Geneva.

Where to Stay: Wisconsin has such a wide range of lodging options throughout the state. You can book quaint cabins, bed and breakfasts, and luxury resorts. For mainstream lodging there are many great hotels in downtown Madison, and cheap hotels in Madison if you are on a budget and looking for a central location for a base.

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