Waterfalls in Northern WI

On Sunday, June 28, Katie, Zack, Kayce (Katie’s dog) and I embarked on a trip to the Northwest part of Wisconsin. This is a very do-able day trip from Eagle River and one that we highly suggest. I did a bit of research on the waterfalls, but there were quite a few surprises along the way. We suggest leaving the Resort between 9 AM -10 AM.

The first and last legs of this journey are the longest. It’s about an hour and a half to the first waterfall. We definitely broke into all the road trip snacks early.

We stopped in Wakefield, MI to grab a picture of Kayce with this Totem Pole, then we had to snag a photo in the oversized Adirondack Chair.

The first waterfall we stopped at was Interstate Falls. Do not put Interstate Falls into your GPS it will take you to the wrong location – how do we know? We went to the wrong location. It’s a private driveway with a huge sign that says no waterfall access. Google Maps does not know that apparently. What you want to type in instead is Interstate Falls Trail Head.

This is the sign off the highway so you know you are in the right spot

We made it to the parking for the trail – right as we went to park – my brake line busted- no brakes in the car. What Luck! Ford (fix or repair daily) so  right. Anyways we did get lucky because there was an auto part store within 2 miles of the parking lot and Zack is a mechanic. So he managed to get the car over there and fix it within an hour. While he was working, Katie, Kayce and I had our lunch and enjoyed the beautiful sunny day.

Now that the crisis was averted, we were on the trail to Interstate Falls. It’s about a ¼ mile trail through shaded woods – very even trail no bigs ups or down. There was a nice deck to over look the water fall. We climbed down to the water to get some better pictures and Kayce wanted to cool off!

We hiked back to the car and went to the second waterfall – Saxon Falls. It was about a 15 minute drive from Instate Falls. We weren’t sure what to expect with this because it is owned by Excl Energies and there is chain link fence all around. There is a sign that clearly points in what direction the falls are. You walk less than 500 feet and boom, you are looking down in a canyon with a multi tiered water fall. Not much water was flowing at the time, but the canyon is deep! You can’t do much exploring in this area as there are no trespassing signs all around. We drove out and turned where it said “Saxon Dam and Boat Landing”. In that area you can climb out into the river bed. We didn’t want to do it with Kayce – but we are planning to go back another time and walk the river bed down to the falls to get a better view from not so high.

After Saxon Falls, we drove 10 minutes to Superior Falls – which flows right into Lake Superior. When parking here and starting the path, it forks two ways. The high way goes to an over look of Lake Superior.

Our Cutie Pie!

The low way (which is a steep road down) takes you to Lake Superior shores. If you bank left after the steep way down that takes you behind a hydro electric building which leads you to the falls.

If you have good balance climb around the rocks to get into the canyon and get closer to the falls.

Lower Superior Falls

After viewing Superior Falls and wading in the water, we went to the shore of Lake Superior to find a geocache. Geocaching is a world wide, scavenger hunt. It’s an app which can be free or you can get a subscription to see more geocaches. If you have never heard of this, google it. It’s amazing where some of them are located. It is a fun, free activity that can make any road trip more interesting.

There is an upper falls area to Superior Falls. After the steep climb back up to the car, you just drive a bit back up the hill and park on the right – you will clearly see a big path (used for ATVs). It’s a very short walk and you reach the upper falls. Although they are not super impressive, there is a 25’ cliff that you can jump off of right into the pool of the water fall. Zack did not hesitate in doing it, but I was terrified. It took me 30 minutes to build up the courage to jump off the cliff. I jumped off a 10’ one first to get the feel for it. The water was surprisingly not that cold. We already have another trip planned just to head to Superior Falls to do this cliff jumping for the day. This was an unexpected surprise.

We dried off and started the 30 minute drive to Potato River Falls. The last part of the drive consists of driving down a dirt road passed a beautiful corn field. When we reach the parking area, the hike is pretty short, however there are quite a few stairs to get down to the viewing area. From the viewing sight you can take a minorly treacherous path to the upper part of the falls. It’s a small path right along the edge. If you have steady footing, you will be fine. There are plenty of trees to hang onto if you get a little unsteady.

Our last waterfall was Upson Falls – this was a 30 minute drive from Potato River Falls – but it counts as part of the drive back to the Resort. It will take you to Upson Falls Campground – which has a pump to pump water from the ground and outhouses. You park and take a very quick hike to Upson Falls, which is quite beautiful. Because it was getting to be 7:00 PM – the mosquitos were out like crazy so we didn’t spend a bunch of time here. I would like to come back and do more exploring.

We started the 1.5 hour journey home. We stopped in Manitowish Waters for some dinner. We grabbed take out from the Pea Patch and went across the street and had a picnic in the park. It was wonderful.

We finally got home and unpacked the car from our awesome day.

In summary:

It would be about 6-8 hour day pending on how much time you took in each location. We left at 10 AM and got home at 9:30 PM. But we also had car trouble, explored extra, and stopped for dinner.

Here is what we suggest packing:

  • Bug Spray
  • Extra Set of Clothes
  • Sunscreen
  • Plenty of Drinks
  • Lunch
  • Snacks
  • Towels
  • Bathing suits
  • Water shoes (if you are going to jump off the cliff)

Note: Phone Service is Spotty up there, so I suggest that you screen shot maps and already load directions prior to leaving Wisconsin.

Here are the falls in order that we stopped:

  1. Interstate Falls
  2. Saxon Falls
  3. Superior Falls
  4. Potato River Falls
  5. Upson Falls

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