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15 Best Waterfalls In Wisconsin (Highest & Most Beautiful)

Explore the 15 most stunning waterfalls in Wisconsin! From the towering Big Manitou Falls to the serene Willow Falls, find the perfect spot for your next trip.

Tobi Miles
July 13, 2022
15 Best Waterfalls In Wisconsin (Highest & Most Beautiful)

Wisconsin is home to over 100 waterfalls, ranging in size from just a few feet tall to an impressive 165-feet tall waterfall. Many of these waterfalls are located deep in the forests of this lush midwestern state.

Wisconsin’s waterfalls vary in not just size, but also accessibility. They have falls that are accessible to almost anyone such as Cascade Falls, Morgan Falls, and Dave’s Falls.

Several of Wisconsin’s waterfalls require one to hike in to reach them. This can be a short half mile hike, or longer. Willow Falls, Amnicon Falls, Big Manitou Falls, and Little Manitou Falls are all beautiful waterfalls you can hike to.

Many of Wisconsin’s waterfalls can be reached within state parks. If you plan on touring Wisconsin and searching for waterfalls, you will want to purchase an annual state park pass. This is much more affordable than paying to visit each state park individually.

Wisconsin is a very beautiful place. The waterfalls that plunge and cascade into the state’s gorgeous riverbeds are just one part of its beauty!

1. Big Manitou Falls

Big Manitou Falls is the tallest of many spectacular waterfalls in Wisconsin. It is found at the very popular Pattison State Park, located just 13 miles from Superior, WI. This is in the northern part of the state.

This waterfall is in Douglas County, which borders Minnesota. The waterfall is on the Black River, which eventually pours into the Nemadji River. At 165 feet tall, Big Manitou Falls is the fourth highest waterfall east of the Mississippi River.

Its name is derived from Native American culture. Stories say that the Great Spirit called his name in Cree, Gitchee Manitou into the falls. Geologically, this waterfall is very unique.

Basalt and sandstone rock forms surround the falls. The basalt is volcanic and not eroded in the manner of the sandstone. It erodes much slower.

The sandstone formations around the rocks are heavily eroded around the falls, as they are a sedimentary formation and much more fragile than basalt. Glaciers caved through the region thousands of years ago, creating this unique river gorge.

Big Manitou Falls is a gorgeous site to see. A fee is required to access the park, which also offers camping, picnicking, and swimming. This pass is good for one day.

If you plan on visiting many of Wisconsin’s state parks to see waterfalls, you may want to consider an annual pass. This pass will save you money in the long run.

Little Manitou Falls is also located in Pattison State Park, so if you are looking for a waterfall stop that you can spend a day or night at, this is a great option.

2. Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls is located in the pleasant and quaint town of Osceola, WI. This little town is located near Hudson, Wisconsin, near the Wisconsin-Minnesota border.

The waterfall lies in Osceola Creek, which runs through Osceola Mill Pond before reaching the St. Croix River. This waterfall is 25 feet tall.

The waterfall is easy to access. There is a trail you can take that to several viewpoints of the waterfall. Stairs lead you down to a boardwalk overlook. You will likely hear these roaring falls before you actually reach them.

Cascade Falls is a lovely place to visit if you love nature and are looking to spend some time shopping in the many attractive specialty shops found in Osceola or nearby Hudson.

3. Superior Falls

Credit: Sevie Kenyon / Flickr

Superior Falls is located along the Montreal River. It’s at the Wisconsin and Michigan border where Iron County in Wisconsin meets Michigan’s Gogebic County, along Highway 2. This is in northern Wisconsin.

This waterfall will impress you with its 90-foot drop before the river pours into the largest of the great lakes, Lake Superior. The waterfall is very easy to access.

There is a parking lot, that has room for several cars to park in. It is just a short walk from the lot to see the waterfall from this parking log . If you are not an avid hiker, this is a great waterfall to stop and check out.

This is a popular location for people to go cliff jumping at. They jump from the rocks, surrounding the cliffs into the deep plunge pool below. It is recommended that if you choose to cliff jump you check the river depth and assess your surroundings first.

Related Read: 20 BEST Restaurants in Madison, WI

4. Upson Falls

Credit: Daniel / Flickr

Upson Falls is an eighteen-foot waterfall that drops into the Potato River. It is located at the Upson Falls Campground in Iron County, in northern Wisconsin.

There is a fee to camp at the campground here, but you can also just stop in to see the falls and picnic at the park, during the day.

Upson Falls has vault toilets. There is also a nice pavilion for larger groups and individuals that want to host a gathering at the falls.  Pets are allowed on site, so this waterfall is great for those that are traveling with a dog.

Upson Falls is easy to reach from the parking lot near the campground. There is a dirt path that leads to the waterfall. This path is easy for almost anyone, young or old to traverse.

Once your party reaches the fall, they will surely be mesmerized by this beautiful sight and the sounds of the waterfall.

5. Willow Falls

Willow Falls sits in a dolostone amphitheater, naturally formed in the Willow River. This is located within Wisconsin’s Willow River State Park. This is popular state park to visit.

To visit the state park and check out the waterfall you must purchase a pass. State Park passes can be purchased for the day. Annual passes are also available.

Willow Falls can be viewed year-round. If you would like to see a truly magical sight, you should see them in the winter months. The falls freeze in places and snow drifts add to the winter wonderland that overtakes the river and state park.

Willow River State Park is a popular hiking destination. There are numerous trails you can take to explore the area beyond the short 0.4-mile hike to Willow Falls.

If you are visiting Hudson, WI or the Twin Cities in Minnesota and want to escape the bustle of the city, Willow Falls is a great place to spend a few hours at.

There are places to picnic and a playground for children. This is a place you can have lunch and enjoy the natural beauty of Wisconsin.

6. Amnicon Falls

Amnicon Falls is located just seven miles east of Superior, WI. This is near Duluth, MN. It’s in northern Wisconsin. Amnicon Falls can be found in Amnicon State Park, which is a great place to spend the day any time of year.

A fee is required to enter this park and can be purchased for the day or as an annual pass. If you plan on visiting many waterfalls in Wisconsin located in state parks, the annual pass is the best value.

This beautiful waterfall cascades as a series of drops as it pours into the Amnicon River. The falls are best viewed form the foot bridge near the falls and along the 2 miles of trails that create a loop hike in the park.

Amnicon Falls can be viewed year-round. Amnicon State Park is open daily from 6am to 11pm. In the winter months, you may want to take snowshoes to explore the area, surrounding the falls. There are also camping and picnic opportunities at the park during the warmer months.

Related Read: 25 Best Hiking Trails in Wisconsin

7. Copper Falls

Copper Falls is located in Copper Falls State Park. This is in Ashland County, near Mellon. A daily or annual pass is required to enter the park and see the falls. The park is open year-round. Its day use hours are from 6am to 11pm.

Copper Falls can best be viewed by tackling one of the loop hikes in the park. The outer loop is longer and more difficult that the inner loop.

Expect to hike at least 2-3 miles as you explore this are. If you are visiting in winter, you will want to ensure you have winter clothing and boots. Snowshoes will make your exploration easier, as well.

Copper Falls is located in hilly terrain. The river flows over lave beds form ancient times. Hardwoods and boreal forest engulf the area and offer you a lush forest experience. Biking, camping, fishing, and picnicking are popular activities near the falls.

If you enjoy history, you will want to stop and look at the numerous log buildings crafted by the CCC in the 1930s and 40s. CCC camps and projects are found in many of the state parks in Wisconsin.

If you would like to see a lush waterfall, spend some quality time outdoors and explore habitats or history, Cascade Falls is a great stop. It’s easy to access overall, and a place where all can learn in nature.

8. Morgan Falls

Morgan Falls is a 70-foot waterfall in St. Peter’s Dome Recreation Area. The recreation area is about 20 miles from Mellen. Mellen is located in northern Wisconsin.

This is an easy to access this waterfall. The waterfall can be reached on a boardwalk trail, from the parking area in the park. This trail is about three-quarters of a mile each direction.

If you wish to view St. Peter’s Dome, the highest point in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, you can continue hiking past the waterfall to reach it. This hike is about 2 miles each way.

If you have the time, you should put in the extra effort to visit this sight, as well. A fee is required to enter St. Peter’s Dome Recreation area. If you are planning on visiting numerous state sites during your visit to Wisconsin, you may want to purchase an annual pass.

If you are visiting Morgan Falls in the summer, be sure to bring insect repellent. The mosquitoes and biting flies can be aggressive, especially after rain.

Related Read: 20 Best Romantic Getaways In Wisconsin

9. Twelve Foot Falls

Twelve Foot Falls is located within Twelve Foot Falls County Park, which also is home to Eighteen Foot Falls and Eight Foot Falls. This is near the town of Dunbar, WI. Dunbar, WI is located in northeastern Wisconsin.

Twelve Foot Falls is a peaceful waterfall that can be seen from the parking lot. It is twelve feet tall, as it name suggests. Visitors young and old can view it.

This is an ideal viewing point for those with limited mobility, as well. If you wish to get a walk in, visiting the falls there is a 0.6 mile out and back trail that takes you closer to it.

Twelve Foot Falls is a great place for those that want to picnic. There is also a camping area for those that want to spend the night in this beautiful park, too.

10. Little Manitou Falls

Little Manitou Falls is located near Big Manitou Falls in Pattison State Park. This state park was the location of the CCC camp known as Camp Pattison from 1935 to 1942.

Little Manitou Falls is 30 feet tall. It’s 1.5 miles from Big Manitou Falls, the largest falls in Wisconsin. It’s easier to get close to this waterfall than Big Manitou Falls. If you are visiting Big Manitou Falls you will want to take the time to visit Little Manitou Falls, too.

The waterfall drops into the Black River. If you wish to see both this waterfall and Big Manitou Falls on your visit to Pattison State Park you can do so by hiking a 3-mile loop trail.

Little Manitou Falls can be experienced in less than an hour. If you are looking for a whole day or multi-day adventure. Pattison State Park has an excellent area to picnic in.

There is also a pleasant campground and wonderful swimming area in the state park. Just like many other Wisconsin state parks, a day use fee or annual pass is required to enter the falls.

11. Brownstone Falls

Credit: Felicia McCaulley / Flickr

Brownstone Falls is located on the Tyler’s Forks River that flows into Bad River. It is a thirty-foot waterfall and not as popular as other falls on this list. If you are looking to get away from the crowd, this is a great waterfall to visit.

Brownstone Falls is quite incredible due to the 60-100-foot gorge that towers over the falls on each side. You can only view the waterfall from afar, as the gorge surrounding it makes it extremely difficult to reach.

Wisconsin DNR actually prohibits you from trying to reach it this way, due to the riskiness of the situation. Brownstone Falls are located within Copper Falls State Park.

You must pay a day use fee or have an annual pass to Wisconsin State Parks to enter the park. These passes are fairly affordable for most individuals.

12. Long Slide Falls

Long Slide Falls are located near the town of Pembine, Wisconsin. They are about a mile and a half from Smalley Falls, another popular set of falls in the region.

It is a short 1.5-mile hike between the two falls. If you are visiting one of these falls, it’s worth taking the time to also check out the other.

Long Slide Falls is in a county park. There is a fee required to access the area. The 0.4-mile hike from the parking area to the falls is steep and treacherous is spots. Wear comfortable shoes if you plan to stop here.

The county park is a great place to have a picnic after checking out Long Slide Falls. There are vault toilets on location, as well.

If you are looking for a waterfall to visit in Northeastern Wisconsin, this is a great place go and spend some time, while avoiding the crowds that can be found at more popular waterfalls in the state.

13. Dave’s Falls

Dave’s Falls are located 1 mile south of Amberg in northern Wisconsin. The falls are easily located off of Highway 131. They are found within Dave’s Falls County Park.

There is plenty of room to park here. Additionally, there is a playground and area to picnic at this county park. To access these amenities and the waterfall, there is small fee. Dave’s Falls are best accessed by hiking. The trail is short but rugged.

This area is full of rock formations. If you have limited mobility or are travelling with small children, this may not be your best option. If you are fit and ready to take on the rugged trail, be sure to wear appropriate footwear for the adventure.

14. Lost Creek Falls

Lost Creek Falls is located in beautiful Bayfield County, just southwest of Cornucopia. The falls are short. There is an eight-foot plunge with smaller cascades above and below this plunge.

Lost Creek Falls is great for those that have dogs with them. Dogs are allowed on and off leash in many areas surrounding Lost Creek Falls.

The best time to visit this waterfall is from May to October. To reach the falls, you have to hike on a 2.2 mile out and back trail.

One very unique characteristic of Lost Creek Falls is that you can go behind the falls. This is not possible at the majority of Wisconsin’s waterfalls.

Related Read: Top 40 Best Camping Spots in Wisconsin

15. Potato River Falls

Potato River Falls is one of Wisconsin’s highest falls. It drops 90-feet into the Potato River, southwest of the town of Gurney.

Potato River Falls is made up of several tiers. Many of these are hard to view, because they are blocked by trees and other natural features. Overlooks above the falls and at waterfall level give you the best view of the falls.

The hike from the parking area to the waterfall is short.  It is 0.4 miles total. This hike is steep and sketchy compared to many other hiking trails to Wisconsin waterfalls.

Potato River Falls has nearby camping opportunities and a great picnic area, as well. Like many other waterfalls on this list, this waterfall is great for both day use and multi-day visits.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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