AMNICON FALLS STATE PARK


This post focuses on Amnicon Falls State Park in Wisconsin, USA. If you would like to view a quick summary of my travel and photography recommendations, please scroll down to the end of this post.

Comprehensive Travel & Photography Guide for Amnicon Falls State Park in Wisconsin, USA

Amnicon Falls State Park is located in northern Wisconsin, only a 30 minute drive from Duluth, Minnesota. The root-beer-colored Amnicon River flows through the park in a series of beautiful waterfalls and rapids. The park is also known for its unique geology, with the Douglas Fault running through it. You can pick up a free geology booklet from the park office for more information. If you’re quiet and careful, you might catch a glimpse of deer, coyotes, foxes, mink, otters, or many different species of birds (the park office lends out bird field guides and binoculars) while hiking through the park. The history of the area includes several Native American cultures, fur trappers, copper miners, lumberjacks, a railroad company, and a brownstone quarry.

Wisconsin State Parks & Forests Vehicle Admission Sticker is required to enter Amnicon Falls State Park. You can either purchase a daily sticker or an annual sticker if you plan on visiting more state parks and/or state forests in Wisconsin (there are currently 66 state parks and 9 state forests).

The only lodging within the park is the Amnicon Falls State Park Campground. The campground has vault toilets and drinking water. The campsites are surrounded by forest and have fire pits (the park office sells firewood) and picnic tables. Campsites can be reserved online. I recommend sites on the outside edge of the loop for views into the seemingly never-ending forest. I would avoid choosing a site next to the vault toilets. Unless you have children, I would also avoid choosing a site next to the playground.

Left: View of the forest from Site 29 in Amnicon Falls State Park Campground Right: Site 29 in Amnicon Falls State Park Campground

There are a couple restaurants in South Range, Wisconsin if you feel like going out to eat. You can also travel to Superior, Wisconsin or Duluth, Minnesota for more dining options. Amnicon Falls State Park has picnic areas throughout the park and a reservable picnic shelter.

There are hiking trails all around the waterfalls. You can view every waterfall by walking a short distance. The Amnicon Falls State Park Map shows the location of each waterfall and hiking trail. Along with hiking up to the waterfalls, you can climb around on the rocks surrounding the waterfalls. The Thimbleberry Nature Trail is 0.8 miles round trip and relatively flat. The trailhead is at the entrance to the campground. The trail winds through the forest, where you can see a variety of plants, maybe some wildlife, and a calmer section of the Amnicon River. Pick up a booklet from the park office to follow along with the numbered signposts. There is a spur off the Thimbleberry Nature Trail to the site of a former brownstone quarry, which has now become a pond. Brownstone is a type of sandstone and was a popular building material. Superior, Wisconsin has several buildings built out of brownstone from this quarry. If you visit Amnicon Falls State Park in the winter, there is also a snowshoeing trail through the forest. It is 1.5 miles round trip and relatively flat.

Brownstone Quarry Lake in Amnicon Falls State Park in Wisconsin

Old brownstone quarry off the Thimbleberry Nature Trail

Other activities include swimming and fishing. Swimming is allowed in the Amnicon River. However, it’s important to be cautious. Do not try to jump into the river (it is extremely dangerous and not permitted). Most people fish downstream of the waterfalls. Remember that a fishing license is required.

The Horton Covered Bridge is located between Upper Falls and Lower Falls and takes visitors to an island in the river. The age of the bridge is unknown, but it was moved to its present location in 1930. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the roof in 1939. The roof has been replaced twice due to heavy snow and vandalism. The unusual design of the bridge was patented by Charles Horton in 1897-1898.

Left: Horton Covered Bridge Right: View from Horton Covered Bridge

The dense forest casts shadows across the river on sunny days, which makes taking photos a bit tricky. It’s best to photograph this park in overcast conditions or in the soft lighting around sunrise and sunset. With the waterfalls so close to the campground, it’s easy to go back and photograph them in different types of lighting. If you have a nice camera (I don’t own a DSLR camera yet; otherwise, I’d show the effects I describe) and a tripod, this is a great place to experiment with adjusting shutter speeds while photographing waterfalls. Shorter exposures freeze the waterfalls while longer exposures (low lighting and a tripod are necessary) result in a silky, blurred effect. I recommend trying several shutter speeds for each shot to see what you like best.

Waterfalls in the evening on a sunny day

Waterfalls on an overcast day


SUMMARY

IMPORTANT LINKS
LODGING
ACTIVITIES
SCENIC LOCATIONS
MAPS
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Comprehensive Travel & Photography Guide for Amnicon Falls State Park in Wisconsin, USA


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48 thoughts on “AMNICON FALLS STATE PARK

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  1. It’s beautiful! We have been making a list of all the national and state parks we want to visit. This one just got added. So many fun things to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such great photography tips! I always have a hard time shooting in forests because of the lighting issues you described. That root beer color water very different! I haven’t been to this part of the country yet!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It looks like a really gorgeous place to take a long walk. So lush and green. America is lucky to have such beautiful places. Fingers crossed Trump doesn’t sell them all off!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a beautiful park. Our incredible and diverse public lands are one of the most important and special things about the US. I hope we can save these places for future generations to enjoy and explore.

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  4. The thing I miss the most about the U.S. is our state and national parks. This one looks like such a perfect escape from the world. It’s so green and lush. I would love to go camping here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Growing up, we always had two stickers on the windshield: Minnesota State Parks and Wisconsin State Parks. Both states have such beautiful nature. I highly recommend checking out the Wisconsin ones if you love Minnesota parks.

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  5. I lived in Minneapolis for 5 years and never heard of this falls (I only know of Minehaha falls). Thanks so much for showcasing this beautiful place!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I grew up in the Twin Cities and love northern Minnesota/Wisconsin. I’m planning on writing a post about the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota soon. Hope you can make it to that part of the country someday!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You have done a great job of presenting this gem of a state park, Erin. Your photographs are beautiful. We hope you get your DSLR and tripod soon. You have a great eye for composition, and you will love shooting those waterfalls with it on your next visit to Amnicon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I need to finish grad school before I can (hopefully) afford a DSLR camera, but I can’t wait to have more flexibility with how I photograph my travels when I do finally get one.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I just discovered you via the community pool and really glad I did. I love hiking, backpacking, nearly anything outdoors, but while i’m stuck inside, beautiful virtual tours like yours are just the trick to help tide me over until I can explore the “real world” again. Looking forward to following!

    Liked by 2 people

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