Lower Potato River Falls, Wisconsin

I have a special relationship with Lower Potato River Falls. After pulling into the parking area, I headed toward Lower Potato River Falls. As I’m heading down the stairs, through the trees you can get a glimpse of the falls, but it’s really not that good of a view. Trees are blocking parts of the falls, and so I’m hoping that since the stairs lead further downward that I’ll be treated to a better view.

I get to the bottom of the stairs, and what I’m greeted with is a river…there’s no view of the falls to be seen, though I know they’re right around the bend! I wander along what I think is the east side of the river for some time, hoping that maybe that will lead to a better view…But, wow, the rock cliffs on that side of the river are surprisingly steep. I slowly realize that the only way I’m going to get a very good view is to actually cross the river.

Now while I like waterfalls, I’m not a big fan of getting wet. That probably seems very odd…loving waterfalls but not wanting to get wet. If the river were very shallow, I’d try and cross in an instant. But this river appears to be rather uneven in depth. It’s still rather shallow, but there’s essentially NO WAY I’m going to avoid soaking some part of my body, and I’m wearing jeans too. Not sure what’s crawling down below in the river, I decide to leave my socks on…again, very weird. I guess I just feel more comfortable with something between my feet and the riverbed. I take the first jump into the river, and it’s not as easy as it seems to cross. Big rocks shift, so it can be hard to get a firm stance…but I push forward, and after a few seconds, I’ve crossed the 20 foot wide river. I put my shoes back on and start wandering along the less steep western shore. As I turn the corner of the bend that’s blocking the view, my effort is rewarded with a truly beautiful scene. Lower Potato River Falls automatically becomes one of my favorite falls in Wisconsin. It’s a wide waterfall, and at the point I’m standing at, it’s reflection is being revealed in the water. It’s an amazing scene…Now I’ve just got to get back across the river. Upper Potato River Falls is just upstream.


  1. From US-2, turn onto WI-169. If you’re heading west on US-2, you will take a left turn onto WI-169.
  2. From there, head about 3 miles (maybe more) toward Gurney.
  3. Turn left onto Falls Road, which is a dirt road.
  4. Head to the end of that road. Be careful, as some drivers go crazy on this road.
  5. From the parking area, head down the trail to Lower Potato River Falls.

Accessibility: (9/10, easy for poor view), 5/10 (moderate for spectacular view)
Height: 50′
Length of Hike: 0.8 miles round-trip (to see the spectacular view)

Lower Potato River Falls in June 2009

Where in the World is Lower Potato River Falls?


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