Camping at Copper Falls Wisconsin State Park has always been a good time. They have a backpacking site that is coveted and reserved months in advance. Copper Falls also has four tent campsites that are very nice and set back from the road. Unlike the RV campsites, they are a bit of hike in but there are carts available to haul in the camp gear.
This was a last minute campsite reservation, only made 3 days in advance and only available For 1 night. We stayed at site #28 which is intended for an RV but I will happily take an RV site and consider myself lucky because even though it might be “offseason” and it is the middle of September, the campground is steadily booked.
The weather for Saturday was a gorgeous 80° during the day, excellent weather to take an evening hike, and a low of 60° at night, perfect for sleeping. Of course, the next logical thing to do after camp is set up, take a hike. Last time we camped at Copper Falls we had our dogs along, and dogs are not allowed on the Doughboys’ Trail, so we headed there first.
The Doughboys’ Trail (DNR Map) is a 1.7-mile hike that begins with a bridge that crosses over the Bad River. The red that you can see to the right of the picture is basalt. Basalt is the result of layers of ancient lava flowing through the land. Upon crossing the bridge you come to a stairway at the head of the trail for Copper and Brownstone Falls. After walking for a bit the Bad River Gorge will be on your right. The Bad River Gorge occurred because of shifts in the earth’s crust that created faults. Faults are lines of weakness that make it easier for the river to cut down on the earth’s surface. Brownstone Falls is just a short distance from there and then on to the stairs. You will go down many stairs to the Devil’s Gate, which is an outcropping of conglomerate rock also formed from lava. Over the bridge that crosses the Bad River, and then you get to go back up just as many stairs as you came down.
But hey, at least you are working off the ice cream you will have latter at the snack shack at the end of the trail. Yes, there is a nice little concession stand at the trailhead, that I know just happens to have ice cream. If you need to take a break from all those stairs or if the weather takes a turn for the worse while you are out on the trail there are two large benches with roofs over them, that make a great resting area. Once your blood pressure has gone back down and you are ready to get back to the hike you will come across a wooden walkway leading out to two observation decks for the Tyler Forks Cascades. Today’s Ranger Point is at the Tyler Forks Cascades.
The hike wraps up with Copper Falls. Copper Falls was named for the copper color of the water. The water is copper colored from the tannin that comes from certain tree’s decaying and leaching into the water. The trail was built in the early 1920’s by The Doughboys’ – The Veterans of WWI and is an absolute must hike, however not with your dogs because they are not allowed on this trail.
When spending time outdoors always be respectful of nature, use common sense and please follow any posted rules.
Always give more than you take and leave no trace.
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