Willow Falls, Wisconsin

A couple of years ago, I flew into Minneapolis and visited a number of waterfalls. One of the Minnesota waterfalls I visited was Vermillion Falls in Hastings. I for some reason didn’t realize that there were other waterfalls very close to the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, or at least that these waterfalls were so close. Willow Falls is only about 30 minutes away from Hastings, and Cascade Falls is only about 30 minutes from Willow Falls. So there are a number of other waterfalls along the border that you might want to check out.

Willow Falls is definitely a waterfall that you want to check out. While it is a bit isolated from other waterfalls, it is a beautiful waterfall. There are a number of different trails that lead to the main trail to the falls, but the shortest way to get there is via a specific parking lot designated for the falls. The hike starts out pretty easily, but then becomes rather steep, though it is paved. That makes the hike a bit more moderate in difficulty, especially on the way back to the parking lot. But when you reach the falls, you’re rewarded with a really nice tiered waterfall that approaches 45′ in height and 100′ wide. There are a few different viewpoints that lead to great shots of the falls.

Directions:

  1. Headed in from Minneapolis/St. Paul, you might be headed east on I-94.
  2. Take exit 4 (in Wisconsin) for County Road U (US-12), and head north on US-12.
  3. Instead of veering east on US-12, continue forward along County Road U, which then turns into County Road A.
  4. Willow Falls State Park is found on the left of the road if you’re headed north. Maps online seem to indicate that you can head directly to the Willow Falls parking area, but that is blocked off. You must enter at the park entrance and pay the fee. You will then follow a dirt road to the parking area. (I don’t know if this changes based on the season?)
  5. From the parking area, follow signs for the falls. You’ll know you’re headed in the right direction if you’re on a moderately steep, paved path.

Accessibility: 7/10 (moderate)
Height: 45′
Length of Hike: 0.6 miles round-trip

Willow Falls (113)

Willow Falls in September 2019

Where in the World is Willow Falls?

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Toketee Falls, Oregon

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Toketee Falls in August 2013

Oregon has so many beautiful waterfalls, and Toketee Falls is another one to add to the list. I flew into Eugene five years ago, with the goal of visiting Crater Lake National Park. There are a number of falls in the park, but there are also many falls along the way to the park. Toketee Falls was one of those stops along the way back to Eugene.

I thought the hike to Toketee Falls was a bit longer than it actually is…goes to show what happens in five years. At 0.75 miles round-trip, it’s a pretty quick jaunt to the falls and back. I don’t remember it being a difficult hike, though I do recall that there were some stairs that led down to a viewing area. The viewing area has a somewhat steep drop near it which made me a bit dizzy (as someone who’s not a fan of heights). I have read that some people have made it to the base of the falls, but it’s something I would in no way attempt. I’m not that brave! You are a bit of a distance from the falls, so it might be wise to bring a zoom lens. It will also allow you to get some better shots of the fascinating basalt columns surrounding the falls.

Directions:

  1. Toketee Falls is off of OR-138, which runs east-west between I-5 and US-97. It’s somewhat closer to US-97 than I-5.
  2. The turn for the falls will be near mile marker 58 (58 miles from Roseburg on I-5). There will be a sign for Toketee Falls.
  3. If you’re headed east, you would turn left onto NF-34/Toketee-Rigdon Road.
  4. After a short distance, you’ll turn left to head to a parking area for the falls. The trail starts here (and heads west).

Accessibility: 9/10 (Easy)
Height: 113′
Length of Hike: 0.75 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Toketee Falls?

Amnicon Falls #2, Wisconsin

I am a bit surprised I haven’t already posted about this waterfall along the Amnicon River in Amnicon Falls State Park. I think it may be due to the way I named it on my photo site. It’s a smaller waterfall, but I’ll still mention it nonetheless.

Amnicon Falls State Park is one of those locations that is just plain enjoyable to explore. You’ll find a surprising number of waterfalls in the park: Upper Falls, Lower Falls, Amnicon Falls #1 and #3, Snake Pit Falls, and Now and Then Falls. You’ll find these along different trails. Amnicon Falls #2 is just another of the falls you’ll find!  And while you’re in the area, also check out Pattison State Park, where you’ll find Big Manitou Falls and Little Manitou Falls.

Directions:

  1. From Duluth/Superior, head east on US-2.
  2. Just after the intersection of US-2 with WI-53, you’ll notice a sign indicating that Amnicon Falls State Park is coming very soon.
  3. At the sign indicating the park, turn left onto County Road U.
  4. After a very short distance on County Road U, you will find the entrance for the state park. Stop and purchase a day pass if you need one. The ranger at the visitor’s center was extremely helpful at directing me to the falls and telling me how to get to Pattison State Park.
  5. Right near the visitor center, you can head right down a rather narrow park road to the end of the road, where you’ll find a parking area just a few feet from the river. Head upstream to find the unnamed falls.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy, more for the confusing loop of trails than anything else)
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles or so (can be longer)
Height: 6′

Amnicon Falls #2 in May 2010

Where in the World is Amnicon Falls #2?

Watson Falls, Oregon

Watson Falls in August 2013

Watson Falls is one of the many waterfalls you can find along OR-138. It’s one of the taller waterfalls in that region, or one of the taller ones that is very easy to visit. Toketee Falls is not that far away, though that requires a slightly longer hike (though still definitely worthwhile).

At 272′ tall, Watson Falls is pretty impressive. I have seen others indicate it might be the best waterfall in the area, but I guess I still liked Toketee Falls more. It is tall, but there wasn’t a huge amount of water flowing over the falls when I visited. This left it looking rather wispy. The bigger issue was probably the timing, though. As I have mentioned before, I can’t always plan to show at the perfect time in the perfect weather. The weather was actually stunning…sunny and very comfortable temperatures. But the sun was making it difficult to photograph the falls. I think the photograph here was in front of the falls, but there weren’t many great shots. I think I was able to get a good view from the right side of the falls standing very close to the rock wall. I think earlier in the year and with the right lighting, I would agree Watson Falls could be even more stunning.

Directions:

  1. Watson Falls isn’t particularly hard to find if you’re on OR-138. You will have entered Umpqua National Forest. It’s to the east of Toketee Falls and the Diamond Lake Ranger Station.
  2. If you are headed east, you will turn RIGHT onto National Forest Road 37 (Fish Creek Road). It should be clearly signed for Watson Falls.
  3. You won’t be driving very far at all down this road, as the parking area should be almost directly off the road.
  4. From here, it’s about a 0.35 mile hike to the falls.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Distance of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip
Height: 272′ (could be up to 302′)

Where in the World is Watson Falls?

Upper Falls, Wisconsin

I’ve always wished people could become a little bit more creative when naming waterfalls. Upper Falls does clearly describe that is a waterfall further upstream along the Amnicon River, but it’s just not that exciting from a naming perspective! Even “Upper Amnicon Falls” would provide more information about where it’s located, and it could probably be referred to that way! There is the equally as exciting Lower Falls, which is actually pretty cool (as is Upper Falls). If you’re in the same park, there are two falls that were better named, Snake Pit Falls and Now and Then Falls. And then there are other drops that I don’t know if they really have a name, so I’ve called them #1, #2, and #3.

I mention these to indicate what you really get when you visit Amnicon Falls State Park is at least 7 waterfalls! Upper Falls is pretty neat, but you have to take all of them together to appreciate them. It’s a very nice park, and if I had family there, I would totally be taking them there all of the time. It’s really fun to explore all of the trails to find even more falls, even though they aren’t particularly tall. (Upper Falls maybe clocks in at 15′ or so…) And if this doesn’t excite you, don’t forget Big Manitou and Little Manitou Falls aren’t that far away (in Pattison State Park). (Big Manitou clocks in at 165′ tall.)

Directions:

  1. From Duluth/Superior, head east on US-2.
  2. Just after the intersection of US-2 with WI-53, you’ll notice a sign indicating that Amnicon Falls State Park is coming very soon.
  3. At the sign indicating the park, turn left onto County Road U.
  4. After a very short distance on County Road U, you will find the entrance for the state park. Stop and purchase a day pass if you need one. The ranger at the visitor’s center was extremely helpful at directing me to the falls and telling me how to get to Pattison State Park.
  5. Right near the visitor center, you can head right down a rather narrow park road to the end. You’ll see Lower Falls, and then you can head upstream to see Upper Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: negligible

Upper Falls in May 2010

Where in the World is Upper Falls?

Snake Pit Falls, Wisconsin

Northern Wisconsin has a number of great waterfalls, and if you’re looking to see a whole bunch in a single hike, then head to Amnicon Falls State Park (which is not that far from Pattison State Park, which contains Big and Little Manitou Falls). Inside Amnicon Falls State Park, there are the not-so-creatively named Upper and Lower Falls, along with other falls along the river (#1 and #3 have been posted). The waterfall with the coolest name, by far, is Snake Pit Falls, and it is a really beautiful waterfall also.

While it does require a little bit of exploring the loop trail, Snake Pit Falls is clearly marked with a sign. It’s hard to say how tall this portion of the falls is. After searching around on the internet, I later discovered there is another drop a few feet after the one shown below. I may have photographed the lower drop during the exploration, but I didn’t seem to notice both drops at the same time. The total drop is somewhere around 20′. I found this particular drop to be very scenic. Each of the drops along the Amnicon River seems to have its own distinct features. It doesn’t look like a series of continuous rapids that blend together over time. I’m guessing the falls flow year-round, except in extremely dry conditions. It had literally just snowed minutes before, lending a certain chilly but appropriate ambiance to the falls.

Directions:

  1. From Duluth/Superior, head east on US-2.
  2. Just after the intersection of US-2 with WI-53, you’ll notice a sign indicating that Amnicon Falls State Park is coming very soon.
  3. At the sign indicating the park, turn left onto County Road U.
  4. After a very short distance on County Road U, you will find the entrance for the state park. Stop and purchase a day pass if you need one. The ranger at the visitor’s center was extremely helpful at directing me to the falls and telling me how to get to Pattison State Park.
  5. Right near the visitor center, you can head right down a rather narrow park road to the end of the road, where you’ll find a parking area just a few feet from the start of the loop trail.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Snake Pit Falls in May 2010

Where in the World is Snake Pit Falls?

Peterson Falls, Michigan/Wisconsin

Just outside of Ironwood and Hurley are two waterfalls found within a short distance of each other. The short distance between the two has created a significant amount of confusion about the identity of the falls. Some books have referred to the falls as Interstate Falls, while others called it Peterson Falls, or both at the same time! It ends up that Peterson Falls is the upstream waterfall, while Interstate Falls is downstream.

I’ve visited Peterson Falls twice, and the visits could not have been different. On the first visit August 2008, there was enough water flowing to call it a waterfall, but one could probably rock hop to the Michigan side. You could actually see three separate portions of the falls.

Peterson Falls in August 2008

In September 2010, there had been a significant amount of rain just before visiting. The falls were wildly different. There would have been absolutely no way to rock hop, as the falls were inundated by water. It actually lost a little bit of its character. (I wasn’t even sure where to photograph…)

Peterson Falls in September 2010

It is much easier to visit them from the Wisconsin side, so follow the directions below to ensure you’re standing in Wisconsin! Interstate Falls is to the left on the trails. Peterson Falls is to the right. At one point the trails intersect, but it can be a little bit confusing. Just don’t leave after seeing only one waterfall! They’re very close to each other. And if you’re exerting yourself to see either falls, you’re probably not on the right path. Both falls are very easy to visit.

Directions:

  1. From Ironwood/Hurley, head west on US-2. You will pass from Michigan into Wisconsin.
  2. After a short distance, you will see Center Drive on your right. If you take a look, you will even notice a white sign for one of the falls.
  3. Turn right onto Center Drive, a dirt road, a head down it. At one point, you will veer right.
  4. There is a dirt pit in the area, so that’s likely how you’ll know you’re in the right area. The road is blocked by a small “rock wall”. From this sandy parking area, head down a well-worn trail to the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: 0.3 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Peterson Falls?