Wisconsin may not be home to large, thundering waterfalls. But according to Up North News, a publication of Courier Newsroom, Wisconsin’s smaller falls have a charm all their own—and offer plenty of excitement to thrill-seekers.
Wisconsin deserves a bit of waterfall street cred. After all, it is the starting point of the Niagara Escarpment, a line of erosion that runs from WI to—you guessed it—Niagara Falls. Hikers and tourists can follow the escarpment and find many smaller waterfalls along its path.
Don’t know where to start? The list below contains some of Wisconsin’s most picturesque and thrilling waterfalls.
Wisconsin’s smaller waterfalls are worth a visit. They tend to attract fewer visitors, which means better access to pristine nature and pure relaxation. Head to the Baraboo Hills, a nature conservancy and home to some of the most ancient rock outcrops in the nation, to enjoy the smaller falls of Pewit’s Glen and Baxter’s Hollow. Both falls are separated by fewer than 10 miles and are near tranquil streams. It doesn’t get much more peaceful than that.
Wisconsin is home to a few bigger falls. Known as “The Big Three,” these waterfalls can be found where water rushes towards Lake Superior.
According to Up North News, a Courier Newsroom publication, the biggest of the falls is Big Manitou in Pattison State Park. Big Manitou isn’t just large by Wisconsin standards—it’s the fourth largest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains.
Just 10 miles away is Amnicon Falls in Amnicon State Park, and about an hour’s drive away is Copper Falls at Copper Falls State Park. Depending on how mesmerized you are by a single waterfall, it’s easy to hit all of “The Big Three” in a single afternoon.
Wisconsin is home to over 100 waterfalls, and some are conveniently bunched together in a single county. If you’re a real waterfall connoisseur, visit Marinette County in Northeast WI. It’s home to 15 falls, all of which are Instagram-worthy. Marinette County knows what it’s got, and it likes to flaunt it. So, it’s not free to visit the falls. Luckily, you can get a day pass to visit them all for just $5.
Another waterfall-packed part of Wisconsin is Iron County. It’s home to five of the state’s ten biggest falls. The largest, Superior Falls, is located just off US 2, making it an easy destination for families and visitors who don’t want their shoes to get too muddy.
When some of us see waterfalls, we want to snap a picture. Others want to strap on a helmet and dive in. These waterfalls are for the latter.
For families, Siskiwit Falls in the town of Cornucopia is outfitted with a series of slides for tubing. It’s a safe way to let the kids experience some thrills while enjoying the outdoors.
For whitewater thrills, head to Wausau, WI, the home of Whitewater Park. An adventurer’s dream, this kayak course offers modern thrills in a pristine setting. But don’t let the natural surroundings distract you—you’ll need to steel yourself for the “Big Drop,” a high-performance wave that provides fierce whitewater resistance for those craving a challenge.
This story was originally published in Up North News, a publication owned by Courier Newsroom.