Wisconsin is known for its harsh, snowy winters, but when that snow melts and the creeks swell, the state becomes a natural wonder of waterfalls.
Nestled between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, the flowing Wisconsin waterfalls are can't miss sights. As snowmelt creates these gushing waterfalls, they trickle out in the late summer, so head out early to find them.
These are the 10 most beautiful waterfalls in Wisconsin.
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Standings at 165 feet tall, the spectacular Manitou Falls is Wisconsin’s largest waterfall and the fourth highest in the United States – east of the Rocky Mountains. The falls are split into two separate waterfalls, Big Manitou, which is as tall as Niagara Falls (and arguably just as impressive), and Little Manitou, a 30-foot plume just upstream.
Located within Pattison State Park, the falls are open year-round, so you can marvel at the frozen water crystals in the winter and admire the gushing waters in the summer. The lookout area is easy to find within the park, and there are several picnic areas to enjoy a day by Manitou Falls.
Manitou Falls is also very close to the town of Superior and the shores of Lake Superior, so you can make an entire weekend out of your visit. With festivals and boat rentals, there’s no shortage of lakeside fun in this region of Wisconsin.
Address: Superior, WI 54880
Also near the town of Superior and nestled in the heart of Amnicon Falls State Park, Amnicon Falls has become a popular site for tourists and locals. A series of four waterfalls make up this breathtaking cascade: the Upper and Lower Amnicon Falls, Now and Then Falls, and the Snake Pit Falls.
The upper falls provide a swimming spot in the pool below, perfect for a summer day. A bridge across the Amnicon River provides the perfect outlook point for photographers and daydreamers alike. Whatever you decide to do at Amnicon Falls, you won’t be disappointed in the natural wonder.
Many visitors to Amnicon Falls also enjoy camping nearby, with the sounds of the gushing water and misty spray a welcome respite from city life. The state park sits about seven miles east of the town of Superior, and a nominal fee is required to enter.
Address: 4279 County Highway U, South Range, WI 54874
Potato River Falls is another one of Wisconsin’s awe-inspiring waterfalls, and its upper and lower falls drop a total of 90 feet together, making them one of the tallest falls in the state. While the spring season is the best time to view gushing waters, it’s also a must to visit Potato Falls in the fall, when the surrounding tree leaves bring out vibrant colors.
Stop at the parking lot’s observation deck for a good view of the falls, or head down a short trail to the gorge below for an up-close look. The trails lead to both the upper and lower falls, but the path can be slippery and tough for beginners. Visitors can also camp nearby for a relaxing trip.
Located near the town of Gurney in the northern part of the state, Potato River Falls is a must for anyone visiting the area. With several other stunning waterfalls nearby, it’s a must-add to a Wisconsin waterfall road trip.
Address: Gurney, WI 54559
This small, quiet series of waterfalls attract those looking for a quiet escape from their bustling lives. The 15-foot Lost Creek Falls cascades over a short, mossy cave cliff that visitors can explore behind.
Lost Creek Falls are accessed by a 2.2-mile round-trip hike, so there are fewer people and more places to explore along the way. The falls are on a secluded trail near the town of Cornucopia, making it a real hidden gem of Wisconsin.
The trailhead to Lost Creek Falls is accessed from Trail Drive off County Road C, just a few miles south of Cornucopia. After a weekend on the lake or exploring town, the falls provide the ideal respite to getaway.
Address: Cornucopia, WI 54827
In the northern region known as Iron County, there are several major Wisconsin waterfalls that anyone visiting must add to their bucket list, including Upson Falls. This 50-foot-wide falls cascades down mossy rocks and is a unique and beautiful sight.
Upson Falls stands at 18 feet high and cascades into the Potato River, just north of the town of Upson. Enjoy a picnic by the plumes of water, or spend the night at the nearby campsite, available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Iron County has the most waterfalls in the state of Wisconsin, including the ten tallest. Make a day of visiting the falls in this region and start with Upson Falls before heading to a few other notable spots, like Little Balsam Falls, Wild Wren Falls, and Foster Falls.
Address: 9564 Upson Park Rd, Upson, WI 54565
This collection of waterfalls is a Wisconsin favorite located along with a historic site. The Montello quarry, which is no longer in use, is famous for creating the materials for Ulysses S. Grant's tomb in New York City. Today, the quarry is a peaceful park in the heart of the town of Montello, several miles north of Madison, Wisconsin.
While a surrounding fence keeps visitors from getting too close to the falls, there are still great overlook spots to take breathtaking photographs and admire the falls that cascade over colorful granite rocks.
The falls are in the center of the town of Montello and offer very easy access. Though these aren't natural phenomena but a man-made wonder, it's still a breathtaking sight and one you can't miss.
Address: Hwy 23 & Hwy 22, Montello, WI 53949
Named for the unique way these falls cascade into the Pemebonwon River, Long Slide Falls is one of the prettiest waterfalls in Wisconsin. Marvel and admire as the falls gush down 50 feet of carved rock formations, creating a “long slide” of crashing water.
If you want an up-close view of these impressive falls, wear proper footwear, and be prepared to climb uneven and rocky trails. If you're not ready for a challenging trek, the falls are still breathtaking from afar.
Long Slide Falls, located in Long Slide Falls County Park, is a part of the Lake Michigan Watershed and is accessed via a short walk in Morgan Park, just north of the town of Pembine. You can also take a short half-mile hike to Smalley Falls, another stunning plume nearby.
Address: Niagara, WI 54151
Located in the center of the town of Osceola, Cascade Falls used to provide power for a brewery and mill. Today, the 25-foot-high cliff sprays mist onto observers and offers the chance to climb behind the falls into a small cave, making it the town's biggest attraction. At dusk, an LED light display lights up the falls with different colors, creating an impressive display.
The falls are located along the St. Croix River in western Wisconsin and are very easy to find along Route 35, Osceola’s main road. A set of stairs takes you to a viewpoint, where you can also see remnants of the mill once powered by the falls.
With so many places to explore, make a day out of your visit. Take a short hike downstream along the river or up to clifftop views above the falls. There’s also access to Geiger Falls, a small cascade above Cascade Falls.
Address: Osceola, WI 54020
Copper Falls State Park is home to three beautiful waterfalls: Copper, Brownstone, and Red Granite Falls. Located near the town of Ashland, and open year-round, pets are welcome, and visitors can swim, bike, and hike along the trails and in the water.
Copper and Brownstone Falls are easily accessed from the Waterfall Fall trail in the northern part of the park. Red Granite Falls, located in the southern part of the park, is accessed by a 2.5-mile trail by the same name.
Don’t miss out on the 17 miles of hiking trails during your visit, where you’ll explore deep gorges and historic buildings. There are also camping areas for a weekend getaway. A nominal fee is required to enter.
Address: 36664 Copper Falls Rd, Mellen, WI 54546
Within the Willow River State Park near the town of Hudson is a wonderful multi-level waterfall known as Willow Falls. Spanning about 100 feet across, the falls features several steep drops as water gushes down into the river.
Several trails within Willow River State Park lead to the falls, so you can choose one based on your hiking experience. A short quarter-mile paved trail is the most comfortable option and leads you to gorge for some breathtaking views of the falls.
The falls lose their power in the late summer as the snowmelt trickles away, but the pools below the falls invite swimmers to take a dip in the late spring and early summer. There are several observation decks for scenic views, including above and below the falls. You can also take in the sights from a bridge that spans across the Willow River.
Address: 1034 Co Rd A, Hudson, WI 54016