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. For this falls, I believe you need to cross the Amnicon River at some point.  If I remember correctly, it is near Snake Pit Falls, so head in that direction.

Accessibility: 9/10 (more for the confusing loop of trails than anything else)
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles or so (can be longer)
Height: 15′

Where in the World is Amnicon Falls #2?: map

Amnicon Falls #2 in May 2010

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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 10′ 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

Where in the World is Upper Falls?: map

Upper Falls in May 2010

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 25′. 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

Where in the World is Snake Pit Falls?: map

Snake Pit Falls in May 2010

Amnicon Falls #3, Wisconsin

There are at least four named waterfalls in Amnicon Falls State Park, but there are numerous other waterfalls along the various rivers and creeks meandering there.  One of those waterfalls is described here.  The main set of named waterfalls (including Upper and Lower Falls) is not difficult to visit, but some of the other falls in the park are a little more “hidden.”

By “hidden”, I mean that they may not be marked, and it may take just a little bit of exploring to find them.  On the day I visited in May, it was actually snowing and was surprisingly chilly, but I put up with the cold to find these falls.  This particular falls might be easier to identify because it appears as if there are the remnants of an old bridge on either side of the falls.  I believe the falls are near Snake Pit Falls, so look around there if you are unsure.  It’s a really great state park to explore.

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. For this falls, I believe you need to cross the Amnicon River at some point.  If I remember correctly, it is near Snake Pit Falls, so head in that direction.

Accessibility: 9/10 (more for the confusing loop of trails than anything else)

Where in the World is Amnicon Falls #3?: map

A waterfall in Amnicon Falls State Park in May 2010

Amnicon Falls #1, Wisconsin

All of the different waterfalls in Amnicon Falls State Park are rather complex to explain. For a smaller park, there is a lot of exploring to do. As you circle around, you’ll be surprised at how many falls you can find hidden around unexpected bends. On the Amnicon River, there are a number of named falls, including Upper Falls, Lower Falls, and Snake Pit Falls. Upstream of these falls are many unnamed drops. This falls is one of them.

None of the upstream drops are significantly big, though they are often very photogenic. When I visited in mid-May, it was rather chilly outside, and it was snowing on-and-off. Even though spring had arrived, there wasn’t a significant amount of water flowing in the river. At the right time, the river might be raging.

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 (more for the confusing loop of trails than anything else)

Where in the World is Amnicon Falls #1?: map

A waterfall on the Amnicon River in May 2010

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. Little 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.

Directions:
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 Rd., 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: Hmmm (9/10 poor view), 5/10 (spectacular view)

Upper Potato River Falls is just upstream.

Where in the World is Lower Potato River Falls?: map

Lower Potato River Falls in June 2009

Lower Gooseberry Falls, Minnesota

One portion of Lower Falls in May 2010

Lower Falls is the furthest downstream of the large drops on the Gooseberry River. I saw pictures to suggest there might be smaller falls further downstream, which would not surprise me. The river drops numerous times along its journey to Lake Superior.

Lower Falls has two different parts that could even be considered two different falls separated by rock. The photo here shows what I believe is the right side, though I might be wrong about that. Other pictures show different viewpoints. Whatever viewpoint this is at, the falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park are really great and VERY easily accessible.

Directions:

  1. From MN-61, turn into the entrance for Gooseberry Falls State Park.
  2. Head to the parking area for the visitor’s center, where you will be able to easily access the falls. There does not appear to be a fee to enter this park.
  3. Follow the trail down to the first group of falls, which includes Lower Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 40′
Length of Hike: 1 mile round-trip

Where in the World is Lower Gooseberry Falls?