After failing to locate Shale Falls I had no time to waste – the day was relatively young and more falls were ahead. Next stop was Orienta Falls in the small town of Orienta, Wisconsin. Parking area is easy to reach and not far off Hwy 13. The trail isn’t much more than a worn footpath. See that warning sign? Those generally inform you cool things are ahead!
Rain was still gently falling which made the descent somewhat dangerous. Trekking poles would be great to have here. I made it to the bottom half covered in brown mud/clay but otherwise unscathed.
From the bottom you have to navigate down some large boulders but are essentially dropped right into a was of rocks in the river bottom. The falls/spillway are immediately in view and much larger than I expected.
A closer view of the falls/spillway. Notice the spillway is only feet above the natural falls – apparently there used to be a huge dam here that was damaged/destroyed in the 80’s and the remaining spillway is from a lamprey barrier.
Views downstream of the Orienta Flowage/Iron River are amazing. Minerals leeching from the rocks appear different shades of purple and orange in the right light.
Here’s a short video of the falls in action. Enjoy!
Not a very long hike at all, but definitely more dangerous than most others I have done. Muddy hill is very slippery with nothing to grab onto, and scaling down the rocks to the river bottom could definitely cause injury if you fall. To me it was an acceptable risk and glad I did it!Lat = 46.7466736 , Long = -91.4848099 -- Show at Google Maps