While still in the Black River Falls area I noticed the map was showing a water feature just below the dam in the downtown area labeled “Ni-ho-kha-wa-ne-ey-ja”, a Winnebago name which had me intrigued. Searching online, Google books shows an excerpt of this book giving the translation “where the black water goes over the rocks”. The name is quite accurate as there are several rapids (waterfalls?) downstream of the dam. Access is relatively easy by walking through the power plant area.
Nearest the dam is a large rapids/falls that doesn’t have a very pronounced drop but instead slopes drastically, more than I can really show in a photo.
The second drop is about 50 yards downstream and has a more pronounced elevation change but isn’t seen well from this side of the river. I didn’t have time to view on the other bank but it’s not very large, maybe 2-3 feet.
Looking further downstream the rapids continue through a rock garden and taper off. Water levels appear low so this might look more exciting when they release the upstream flow from the dam.
Nearest the dam seems to be a favorite spot of fishermen and I encountered several this day. Also found lots of Shovelnose sturgeon right along the shoreline which is pretty neat – basically living dinosaurs, read this DNR page for much more info.
Here’s a short clip of the rapids/falls in action. Enjoy!
Lat = 44.2967033 , Long = -90.8446808 -- Show at Google Maps