Wisconsin’s Interstate Park Hiking — Dalles, Potholes, and an Old Mine

As I continue working towards my goal of visiting every Wisconsin State Park, I sometimes wonder what rhyme or reason there is to the order in which I go. Turns out, there is no order. BUT if there had been an order, a logical one would be in order of date of establishment. If I had done that, Interstate State Park or Interstate Park, would have been first on my list.

Located directly across the St. Croix River from Minnesota’s Interstate Park, Wisconsin’s Interstate Park became Wisconsin’s first state park in 1900. (It was Minnesota’s second state park.)

As this park is a 4 1/2 hour drive from my home, we camped in the park and made a long weekend of the trip. The camping was…well, I’ll cover that in a different post. The hiking, though, that part of the trip was wonderful. Scenic and full of both natural and human history.

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Wisconsin’s Whitefish Dunes State Park, Door County, Sand Dunes Along a Great Lake

I love Door County. It’s one of those places that I only ever visit while in a vacation state of mind, so I only ever think positive things about it. Growing up outside of Green Bay and now living in Madison, getting there has always been a breeze. From family trips, to girls trips, to a couple’s getaway, it’s been a go to place for a quick yet memorable break.

Part of what makes it so great is the vast amount of things to do. There is seriously something for everyone. Every age, every interest, and every budget can find the perfect activity. I love that the area is a mix of settled civilization and natural/wild area. It’s cute tourist town meets Northwoods meets beach meets farmland. You can get outside and explore nature, stop at a brewery, and then head back to your cabin or lake house.

If you are looking to mix in some outdoor time into your next trip, and I hope you are, then I encourage you to consider Whitefish Dunes State Park.

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Porcupine Mountains – Hiking Summit Peak – Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Lately I’ve been covering my trip to the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I’ve covered a bunch of waterfalls (Presque Isle Waterfalls, Union Mine Trail Waterfalls, Overlooked and Greenstone Waterfalls). I’ve also covered a gorgeous lake and a ridge hike. Despite covering all of that, I haven’t covered anything resembling a mountain. The area is called the Porcupine Mountains, after all.

At this point you might be saying, “but the Midwest doesn’t have any mountains.” While it’s true that the Midwest is not home to any of the more impressive peaks, smaller mountains are everywhere, depending on your definition. I’m prefacing this by saying that I am not a geologist, but it turns out there is no universally accepted definition of a common term like a “mountain” or “hill.” Until the 1970’s, the US used the definition that a mountain was land differentiated by 1,000 feet of local relief. I’ve also seen organizations that define a mountain as anything above 2,000 feet of local relief or more, and others that consider the angles and definitions of the slope and peak. So basically, whatever you define a mountain as is both right and wrong!

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Porcupine Mountains Hiking – Overlooked Falls and Greenstone Falls – A Small Hike to Small Falls

I’ve been talking about waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan a lot lately. It makes sense when covering a nature focused trip where 300+ waterfalls call this peninsula home. Narrowing it down, you can see an abundance of waterfalls in one park alone, the Porcupine Mountains. So far I’ve covered two hikes full of falls in the park: the Presque Isle River Waterfalls and the Union Mine Trail. If you want to see a bunch of falls in a short hike, then these two trails are for you.

The hike I’m covering today is the last of the waterfalls I saw on this trip. These falls fall (ha!) somewhere between the two other groups. They are larger than the Union Mine falls, and smaller than the Presque Isle falls. They are less visited than the Presque Isle Falls, and more visited than the Union Mine Falls. They hit a sweet spot of size and seclusion.

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Porcupine Mountains Hiking – Union Mine Trail – Mining History and Waterfalls

If you like waterfalls, then a trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula might be the trip for you. An area rich with waterfalls, it is home to more than 300 falls across the region. The Porcupine Mountains contain some 50+ of those.

Last time I covered the three largest falls in the park, the Presque Isle River Falls, which drop 15-25 feet in a short distance before dumping into Lake Superior. While these falls are the most impressive in the park, they are also the most photographed and the most visited. If you’re looking for something a little more private, then the waterfalls along the Union Mine Trail might be a better option.

Do you happen to also like history? More specifically, the mining history that helped build the region? If so, then this trail is really for you. (History and waterfalls in one!)

Where are we? The Union Mine Trail, technically the Union Mine Interpretive Trail, can be found on the eastern side of the park, just south of the intersection of the two main roads, South Boundary Road and Highway 107. The area is circled in red on the map.

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Presque Isle River Waterfalls – Porcupine Mountains – Three Falls in One Hike

Last time I began to recap our adventure in Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains. This weeklong adventure was full of hiking, camping, and appreciation of nature’s beauty in Michigan’s largest state park. In case you missed it, check out the recap of a must do trail and must see scenic overlook, Lake of the Clouds and the Escarpment Trail.

Part of that appreciation for nature’s beauty I mentioned came in the form of waterfall viewing. This area has an abundance of waterfalls. In fact, the entire upper peninsula is rich with waterfalls, clocking in at 300+ falls of all sizes across the region, with the largest being the beautiful Tahquamenon Falls in the northeastern part of the peninsula. The Porcupine Mountains themselves have 50+ falls of all sizes. Today we will focus on three of them, including the largest one in the park, Manabezho Falls

Where in the world are we? This post focuses on the Presque Isle River Waterfalls, which are near the Presque Isle Campground on the western side of the park. (At the end of County Rd. 519)

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