Monday, November 5, 2012

Copper Falls and Brownstone Falls - Copper Falls State Park, Wisconsin

Bad River and Tyler's Fork of the Bad River
Mellen, WI

On one of our many trips into Michigan's Upper Peninsula (2009), we dipped into Wisconsin to check out a few of the falls from Pat Lisi's book, Wisconsin Waterfalls: A Touring Guide. Copper Falls are the highlight of a beautiful state park in northern Wisconsin. Brownstone Falls are also found in this park, and the miles of hiking trails lead to other falls and great gorge views. Copper Falls are about 30 feet in height and can be viewed from a trail that leads to the opposite side of the river as well as one that goes right above them. The one negative I took away from this park was that there aren't a lot of quality vantage points for pictures - many trees in the way. What makes Copper Falls especially hard is that the river bends around a large rock right near the top, partially obscuring several drops.

The path is smooth and not very challenging. The surroundings are forested, and teeming with wildlife. While hiking to Brownstone Falls, we noticed a whitetail deer several feet off the trail, not the least bit bothered by our presence or that of a passing group of loud children.

Brownstone Falls has a drop of 30 feet as well, and the surrounding rock faces' red color really stands out against the water. You can see a bit of what I was talking about with trees being in the way here in the lower right hand corner. Apparently we were there at a lower water time than most of the pictures I have seen, both of these falls look stunning in the spring. Any time we can see two new waterfalls this stunning in the same park, it is a good day.

Getting there: the park is located two miles north of Mellen. From Hwy 13, turn onto State Highway 169 heading northeast for about two miles to the park entrance on Copper Falls Rd. A $10 day pass or WI sticker is required (steep - that's what we pay in MI for the whole year) and more info on Red Granite Falls, a 2.5 mile round trip hike elsewhere in the park, can be obtained at the office.

Overall: Great
Hike: Moderate - handicap accessible in most parts, some uphill inclines.

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