Wisconsin - 2004

Updated: 11/09/08

Hit Counter

Specific destinations on this page ...

Amnicon Falls        Dalles of the St. Croix River        Manitou Falls

Shot Tower        Stephens Falls        Villa Louis        Wyalusing State Park


Additional photographs can be viewed at our WI 2004 - Along the way page.  


Our route took us through the center of the state to Superior WI in the north and down most of the west shoreline along the Mississippi River. 

We found that many of the Wisconsin state parks have natural features within their borders. The annual entry pass for non-residents is $30 (a one-day pass is $10) and camp fees are $12 ($10 Sunday through Thursday and off-season) plus $5 for electricity. The camping areas in the state park are not always big rig friendly due to the terrain. As only about 25% of the sites offer electricity, even in the fall getting electricity was a challenge.  However, they are beautiful places to visit and we enjoyed their hospitality.


Amnicon Falls
Amnicon Falls State Park - Superior, WI


am upper falls.jpg (58332 bytes)            am snake pit falls.jpg (62808 bytes)
Upper Falls                           Snake Pit Falls


am lower falls.jpg (52888 bytes)
Lower Falls



The walk on an island between the Upper and Snake Pit falls was beautiful . The park's visitor guide gives you a geology lesson. 


am water 2.jpg (70414 bytes)            am water 3.jpg (64129 bytes)


am water 4.jpg (69823 bytes)



The final falls is on the other side of the parking lot. Appropriately named because the falls isn't always there, it disappears during periods of low flow.


am now and then falls.jpg (75442 bytes)
Now and Then Falls

Top of Page



Dalles of the St. Croix River
Interstate Park - St. Croix Falls WI


In Wisconsin's first state park we found beautiful visual examples of the power of water. The Ice Age Interpretive Center includes an informative 20 minute film about the glaciation in Wisconsin. This park is part of the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve and the Ice Age Trail. 


We learned that dalles is a gorge carved by glacial meltwater out of ancient bedrock. These canyon walls rise 200' above the river. 

dalles outcropping.jpg (56403 bytes)



Sand, gravel and rock trapped in whirlpools formed by the current of glacial meltwaters  drilled deep potholes into solid rock. 

dalles pothole.jpg (57604 bytes)             dalles pothole is.jpg (35219 bytes)



The circular path through the site was a beautiful walk itself.

dalles path.jpg (79672 bytes)



dalles hh in lot.jpg (24495 bytes)The ranger seemed hesitant about us taking our fifth wheel into the park. We left it in the parking lot and were glad we did. The roads are very narrow and the route is steep.




Top of Page


Manitou Falls
Pattison State Park - Superior WI


manitou falls big.jpg (65132 bytes)            manitou falls small.jpg (72120 bytes)
Big Manitou Falls                    Little Manitou Falls



The 165' vertical drop of Big Manitou Falls is the highest in Wisconsin and the fourth highest east of the Rock Mountains. Little Manitou Falls, about one mile south, drops 31 feet into Falls Lake.



On the shores of Falls Lake was a picnic area with a sandy beach. The welcome station had a large box with balls of all shapes and sizes available for use in the picnic area. 

www falls lake.jpg (32185 bytes) 



These are two views of Duluth MN from the top of the hill outside the entrance to the state park. We got our most reliable cellular reception from this spot.

          www duluth fr wi.jpg (27940 bytes)            www duluth fr wi fog.jpg (18698 bytes)



Shot Tower
Tower Hills State Park - Spring Green WI


The shot tower was built at this location due to the height of the cliff, the river and the availability of lead from nearby mines. The process was simple. Lead was melted, arsenic was added to make it brittle and help it form into droplets. The melted lead was poured through a ladle with holes in the lid and dropped into a pool of water 180' below. The droplet cooled and became round as they fell.


st bldg.jpg (68676 bytes)


st kettle.jpg (39066 bytes)            st shaft.jpg (28830 bytes)


The lead arrived at the tower in 70# bars called 'pigs'.

st lead pig.jpg (36280 bytes)



We also visited Mineral Point WI, one of the sources of lead used in the shot tower. On the guided tour of the Pendarvis State Historic Site we learned a lot about lead mining. The fee was $8 per person.


This is a badger hole. Covered with branches it was living quarters for miners.

st badger hole.jpg (63029 bytes)



Miner descended into the mine in buckets. They and the lead come up the same way.


st shaft bucket.jpg (58471 bytes)            st mine pic.jpg (30928 bytes)


st lead.jpg (38238 bytes)



Once the rock containing lead was brought up to the surface, the boys broke it up and sorted it. The women and girls were not allowed near the mining area. Yes, there were many lead related health problems.


Most of the tools used were hand tools.


st tools 1.jpg (34618 bytes)            st tools 2.jpg (34932 bytes)


st tools 3.jpg (39616 bytes)



Top of Page



Stephens Falls
Governor Dodge State Park - Dodgeville WI


This is a large state park. It was our first experience with the Wisconsin park system.

The sign appeared to direct us to a larger falls. When we got there the water flow was very low. Fortunately, it was a short and easy walk.


stephens falls sign.jpg (43865 bytes)            stephens falls.jpg (68108 bytes)


Top of Page


Villa Louis
Prairie du Chien WI


It is the estate of The Dousman Family. The family made their fortune in the fur trade.

 villa house.jpg (61747 bytes)



The guides discussion about the ice house reminded us of our trip on the northern shore of Lake Superior. That was our first experience of ice being stored in saw dust.


The ice was stored in saw dust and straw in the basement until needed and then move behind the ice cabinet. The interior walls and shelves of the ice cabinet are marble to hold the cold.

villa ice basement.jpg (37406 bytes)

villa ice cab.jpg (31854 bytes)            villa ice shelves.jpg (24128 bytes)



Their Preserve House was set up as a summer kitchen and laundry display.


villa preserve house.jpg (42886 bytes)


villa summ kit.jpg (38258 bytes)            villa laundry eq.jpg (30161 bytes)



The demands of business and managing the estate required an office building.


villa ofc bldg.jpg (42826 bytes)            villa ofc stairs.jpg (41795 bytes)



villa water mark.jpg (35402 bytes)The hazard of living along a river such as the Mississippi was clear at the villa. Markers like these are common along the river. When Fred asked why the Visitor Center was not handicap accessible, the women showed us a photograph from April, 2001.


villa center 04.jpg (44291 bytes)            villa center 01.jpg (28086 bytes)
Water level 8.5 feet.                 Water level 23 feet 8inches.



The Fur Trade Museum on the grounds while interesting offered little new information.


The main furs were beaver, mink and muskrat.

ftm furs.jpg (17052 bytes)            ftm use of fur.jpg (30834 bytes)


The rope and wheel system used to move the 90# bundles of furs to the second floor storage area was interesting. Pulling a rope loop raised or lowered the hook.


ftm rope wheel.jpg (28046 bytes)            ftm rope log.jpg (21228 bytes)


ftm rope w hook.jpg (31089 bytes)



If not in the area for the scenic views from the Wyalusing State Park or other locations, we would not suggest a trip to the area just for the villa tour and small museum on the grounds. The one-hour guided tour was $8.50 per person. A little less if you are over 65. 

Top of Page


Willow Falls
Willow River State Park - Hudson WI


The falls are very nice. A lot of water flows and it is noisy. They provide a nice sitting, viewing area.

wf falls.jpg (48839 bytes)



wf climbers.jpg (84498 bytes)While we were there we were entertained by climbers. We counted six climbers in the group.





wf girls behind.jpg (41580 bytes)If you look hard you can see two of three girls walking behind the falls.





wf path.jpg (65798 bytes)This photograph does not show how steep the walk down to the falls is. Our feet were all the way to the front of our shoes by the time were at the falls. All the way down we were thinking about the 'climb' back up the hill.



wf little falls lake.jpg (35480 bytes)
Little Falls Lake is also
in the state park.


Top of Page



Wyalusing State Park - Bagley WI


This state park has several points of interest. It has a fantastic lookout over the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers, Indian mounds and a history of passenger pigeons.


wy point lookout.jpg (56346 bytes)Point Lookout provides a fantastic view. Iowa is across the Mississippi in the first two photographs below.




wy pl view 1.jpg (55480 bytes)            wy pl view 2.jpg (63143 bytes)


wy pl view 3.jpg (64936 bytes)            wy pl view 4.jpg (60396 bytes)



wy wi joins miss.jpg (29200 bytes)This is where the Wisconsin River joins the Mississippi River. The Mississippi is horizontal and the Wisconsin is flowing around the island in this photograph. 




Did you see the Wall-Mart?
wy pl wallmart.jpg (35669 bytes)

wy view from the knob.jpg (36313 bytes)
A different view from the south campground.



wy pigeon mon.jpg (43975 bytes)In 1899, the Passenger Pigeon became extinct in Wisconsin in Babcock, a town near here. This monument to that fact is located in the park.

wy pigeon head.jpg (25183 bytes)            wy pigeon.jpg (30764 bytes)

Found only in eastern North America, the Passenger Pigeons were one of the most abundant bird on earth. A single flock could stretch for  300 miles and take 14 hours to fly by. Passenger Pigeons were hunted as a food source. By 1901, there were no passenger Pigeons flying free in the wild. The last bird died in the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914.


Archeologist in 1911 discovered Indian effigy mounds in the park overlooking the Mississippi River. To the novice they look like mounds of dirt. To the experts they are pre-historic American Indian burial and ceremonial mounds.


wy effigy conical.jpg (75756 bytes)            wy effigy linear.jpg (60967 bytes)


wy effigy bear.jpg (59078 bytes)



This is one of the better campsites we have had in Wisconsin. This is the view from our window and of us on the hill. And, electricity too.


wy out hh window.jpg (64631 bytes)            wy hh from road.jpg (51694 bytes)



wy catching fish sign.jpg (45884 bytes)Most fishermen spend a lot of time fishing and sometimes catching. This sign seen at the boat landing is appropriate.




Top of Page