Five WI Waterfall Hikes

Chasing Waterfall Hikes

Wisconsin has several waterfall hikes throughout the State. Hiking is one of my favorite things to do no matter the season. Throw in a waterfall and, I will never want to leave. There is something very tranquil and calming about flowing water.

The following five locations are a few of my favorite waterfall hikes. I have thrown in an extra waterfall/cascade because it is an absolute must hike. However, the waterfall at the end is tiny and probably more of a cascade. So I didn’t include it in the five.


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Waterfall Hikes
Copper Falls

Number 1 – Copper Falls

The number of waterfalls found at Copper Falls is impressive. Hiking the main trail – The Doughboys’ Trail has three waterfalls. The Tyler Forks Cascades is located on this trail and has an excellent walkout viewing platform. If you like a good view and want some extra exercise, there is also an offshoot that leads to an observation tower that is well worth the hike.

While visiting Copper Falls, Wisconsin State Park make sure to check out the Red Granite Falls Trail. Copper Falls permits off-trail exploration on the Red Granite Trail. There are some cascades to be found while exploring and the rock hopping is exhilarating.

We have camped at Copper Falls many times. It never gets old. If you are a backpack camper, I highly recommended staying at the backpack site. Having a private location so close to the Bad River and falling asleep to the sound of rushing water is an unmatched experience.

Hiking Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls

Number 2 – Cascade Falls

Finding Cascade Falls was a real delight; it was a last minute unexpected waterfall hike. We were staying at a hotel in the area because we were visiting other State Parks over the weekend.

To see the falls is a short but steady climb down a couple of flights of stairs. If you are only interested in seeing the falls, you can turn around and climb back up the stairs and call it a day.

I would, however, recommend hiking the Cascade Falls Trail. It is a nice hike following alongside the Osceola Creek. There are few footbridges and some beautiful scenery along the way.

Amnicon Falls
Amnicon Falls

Number 3 – Amnicon Falls

Visiting Amnicon Falls Wisconsin State Park is a perfect way to spend a warm summer day. Again if you are only interested in viewing the falls, you don’t have to hike at all. You can park your car walk a few feet (it is handicap accessible) and see the beauty of at least two waterfalls.

Amnicon State Park doesn’t offer much in the way of marked trails, but the off-trail exploration more than makes up for it. Swimming in the falls and wading in the river is permitted with caution. Because of the natural beauty and easy access this park is busy all summer long, but well worth a visit.

Willow Falls
Willow River

Number 4 – Willow River

Visiting Willow River Wisconsin State Park in the middle of February early on a Sunday morning was an excellent way to start a day. When we arrived, we had the park almost entirely to ourselves. Less than three hours later when we were leaving the parking lot was filled with other vehicles.

The reason I mention this is because I have only visited Willow River this one time. I look forward to returning in the summer to see the falls in its full flowing glory. But I know it will be crowded then.

I have said it before, I have a difficult time balancing my desire to be alone in nature and wanting to share my passion for the outdoors with others. Seeing other outdoor enthusiasts on waterfall hikes makes me happy.

Enjoying the companionship and the occasional conversation with others is a delight. But having a waterfall and hiking trail all to myself is a wondrous thing.

Waterfall Hikes
Governor Dodge

Number 5 – Governor Dodge

Oh, how I love Governor Dodge Wisconsin State Park. The Stephens’ Falls is handicap accessible for viewing at the top of the falls. If you wish to go down below for a better view, there are stone stairs involved.

Also located in the Stephens’ Falls area is an old spring house that is very interesting and worth a look.

Following the trail on from there is optional but highly enjoyable. There are beautiful canyons and some impressive cascades along the way. I often find cascades more enjoyable than an actual waterfall.

Hiking Parfrey's Glen
Bonus: Parfrey’s Glen

Bonus Green Hiker – Parfrey’s Glen

Parfrey’s Glen Natural Area is like taking a step back in time. The entire round trip hike is about two miles. This Wisconsin Natural area is less than 15 miles away from Devil’s Lake Wisconsin State Park. There are a couple of tricky to navigate area’s, but with an adventurous spirit, you will have no trouble seeing this hike all the way through.

The end has a small waterfall, what some might call more of a cascade but the entire view is a sight to behold.

Every hike I take I find beauty sometimes I have to look a little harder. But, it is always there. Parfrey’s Glen hike is one of the most wonderous and beautiful hikes I have taken, especially for how short it is.

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When spending time outdoors always be respectful of nature, use common sense and please follow any rules posted.

Always give more than you take and leave no trace

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