Friday, July 18, 2014

Best sites to see at Pattison State Park, Wis.

Little Manitou Falls. Photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR.
Among the best ways to see the top sights of Wisconsin’s Pattison State Park is via a day hike. Just three short trails will allow you to enjoy each of the park’s highlights – the fourth highest waterfall east of the Mississippi River, an ancient fault line, and Wisconsin’s boreal forest.

To reach the park, from Superior, Wis., travel south on Wis. Hwy. 35. The highway splits the park in two sections; parking is available in the park section east of Hwy. 35.

Big Manitou Falls
The highest waterfall in Wisconsin and the fourth highest east of the Mississippi River, Big Manitou Falls drops 165 feet. The Big Manitou Falls Overlooks Trail runs 1-mile round trip to the lip and then the base of the grand falls.

Douglas Fault
The ancient fault line formed 500 million years ago when the basalt bedrock fractured and folded in a line stretching from near Ashland, Wis., to the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. The 2-mile round trip Big Manitou Falls River Trail runs alongside the Black River with the adjacent cliffs showing Douglas Fault’s angled rock.

Boreal forest
In the extreme northern section of Wisconsin is a boreal forest consisting mainly of white spruce and balsam fir, as might be found in Maine. The 2-mile Beaver Slide Nature Trail loops Interfalls Lake, through the spruce-fir forest. The hike can be extended by taking a side trip on the Little Manitou Falls Trail to the 31-foot waterfall that is the trail’ namesake.

Read more about Douglas County day hiking trails in my Day Hiking Trails of Douglas County guidebook.