Amnicon Falls State Park, Wisconsin, Four Waterfalls and One-stop Sightseeing

Holy macaroni! I feel like I always start my posts like this, but I can’t believe I haven’t posted in 2 months. Actually, that’s a lie. I can believe it. Since my last post, in addition to all the craziness that was the winter holidays, we (myself and 3 other awesome people) bought and moved into a house! Buying and splitting a duplex with your husband and friends (another couple) is really the way to go. Not only do we have amazing friends right next door, we were able to break into the market and tackle the daunting project of home-ownership together!

Somewhere in there with the thousands of other pros to owning a home, never having to haul 5 trips of camping supplies up and down apartment stairs is high on the list.

Let’s continue this honeymoon hike.

From Pattison State Park and the state’s tallest waterfall we drove 17.5 miles to another park full of waterfalls, Amnicon Falls State Park.

Links to follow along:
Park Website
Park Map

Upon entering the park by car, you can continue straight to the campground or turn right to head towards the waterfalls. This road takes you over a short but narrow one-car at a time bridge.

This is the part where I normally start dividing up the information by trails. Since the park doesn’t have many different trails, this is going to be different and I’m going to divide this by waterfall instead. This park only has two trails, the “trail” around the falls and another short nature trail near the campground.

Now and Then Falls

From the parking lot we walked to the Now and Then Falls. This falls allegedly has a higher flow in the spring. We saw it in late June and it was a little more “then” than “now.”

Just a little trickle made up this falls. I couldn’t find a good picture of what the falls looks like when it’s flowing strong, but I did find this YouTube video to give you an idea.

Upper Amnicon Falls

This falls seems to be the main attraction at the park, as it shares a name with the park and the river flowing through. It’s also the loudest and most impressive. It had numerous benches and picnic tables facing it for a great view while you relax.

While you definitely shouldn’t dive or jump into the falls, swimming is allowed. A few people were brave enough to do this while we were visiting. Be advised, EVERYONE will be watching you if you choose to do this, and will probably be a little irked that you’re in their waterfall pictures. This is a swim at your own risk situation.

Stone stairs bring you close to the falls without having to get wet.

The picturesque Horton Covered Bridge connects the mainland to the island around which the Amnicon River flows just downstream from the Upper Falls. Built around 1899 in La Crosse, WI, it was moved to the park in 1930.

Lower Amnicon Falls

Downstream from the upper falls, is the lower falls. There are many other smaller falls and rapids along the river, but these two are the largest.

Walking along the ledges surrounding the river, the power of the water was evident. I was curious why the sandstone looked so layered. Thankfully, the WI DNR had my question covered.

“The Lower Falls flow over Lake Superior sandstone. It was formed from sand deposited by streams flowing into an ocean that covered much of Wisconsin millions of years ago. The sandstone formed in horizontal layers, which you can see on the riverbank. The sandstone also has vertical cracks or joints. When the river undermined the rock wall on the northeast side of the river, large pieces of sandstone separated from the parent mass along the smooth joint planes. The result was a smooth cliff which you see here.”

The Lower Falls and the Horton Covered Bridge.
A view of the upper falls from the center of the bridge.

Snake Pit Falls

Found on the island, Snake Pit falls is the last named waterfall in the park.

This waterfall is actually two falls, totaling about 25 feet. After the first drop, the water takes a 90 degree turn before dropping again.

After taking a pleasant walk to see the waterfalls, we decided to have a picnic lunch and a beer at the park. What better place to do this than people watching those swimming near the Upper Falls.

After this park, it was onward to Ashland for a much needed shower and a much deserved night in a hotel.

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