Willow Falls


June 2005

State: Wisconsin

Location: Willow River State Park, St Croix County

Height: 45

Crest: 100

Water Source: Willow River

Waypoint: 45.02N 92.68W

Summary: The recently restored Willow Falls is one of the most scenic waterfalls in Wisconsin. The falls is easy to visit and very user friendly.

Willow Falls is located in Willow River State Park, about 10 miles northeast of Hudson Wisconsin. In my opinion either Willow Falls or Lower Potato Falls is the most impressive waterfall in the state. The falls, which is at least 100 feet wide, consists of several drops, the largest of which is about 15 feet high. The uppermost drops are only visible from the rim. This is a good sized river and creates an impressive display as it tumbles down on its way to meet the much larger St. Croix River.

In 1924 a dam was built here which diverted all the water from the main falls and drowned the upper drops. In 1992 the dam was removed, restoring the falls. It also restored the impressive gorge. There are still some remnants of the old dam, such as the main pipe through which the water was once diverted, but for the most part the area has been returned to its natural state.

The falls are easy to find. There are a set of trails that lead to the falls. See the park maps for details. The shortest walk to the falls is less than 1/4 mile on a paved but very steep trail down into the gorge. There is a bridge across the river just below the falls.

You can get as close as you want to these falls. It is possible to wade out into the falls, or get behind the main drop.

Here is a short movie of the falls. Here is a closeup movie of the main drop.

Nearby Falls

There are a fair number of waterfalls in this area. They are all the result of smaller rivers or creeks falling into the gorges of the much larger Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers. Cascade Falls is 25 miles to the north. Minnehaha Falls is 35 miles to the west. Vermillion Falls is 30 miles to the southwest.

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