Pattison State Park – Copper Creek Falls

Intermittent storms for the past several days washed away my best laid plans.  Today (Jul-6) the stars aligned giving me blue skies, 72 degres, and a gentle breeze.  Just about the perfect day to attempt a mysterious and unpublished waterfall called Copper Creek Falls at Pattison State Park.  Access is through the northern park section off Hwy G that is not maintained or mapped.  Look for the “No Snowmobiles” sign and follow the old ski trails.

I’m not sure if this trail is still used for cross-country skiing, but it certainly isn’t serviced for hikers.  Overall conditions are swampy, overgrown to chest height, lots of dead-fallen trees, and sink holes that will twist ankles in the blink of an eye.

Almost forgot my favorite part – the entire trail is absolutely crawling with ticks (photo shows an adult male dog tick but that’s just the one I photographed; lots of deer ticks too).  Permethrin treat your gear and be safe!

Around the 1.25 mile mark you should reach Copper Creek.  In my opinion, the best access for viewing the falls is had by crossing the creek.  Look for a low spot and cross with caution.  Some spots today were only ankle deep.

Remnants of an old wooden plank bridge can be seen but only two large posts remain.  Was this constructed during the 1930’s by CCC teams or even prior to Pattison’s 1918 transfer to public ownership?  Not sure but it looks very old.

Following the creek banks I eventually found the upper falls.  You can see this is a series of 4 or 5 smaller drops, each several feet high.

Here’s another angle from above/downstream.  Here at the bottom, the upper falls end in a small pool before continuing down the rocks.

From the same viewpoint here is a downstream photo looking over the main falls drop.  Notice the canyon in the distance – these are quite large, estimating maybe 20-30 feet overall by my eyeball.

Sadly the middle & lower portions are obscured by the brush and somewhat difficult to see.  From this spot I was dangerously close to the cliff edges and couldn’t get closer.  Falling from here would likely be death or critical injury which wasn’t in my plans.

Below the middle falls section is a lower section that drops another 10 feet estimated by my naked eye.  Overall this one is huge, maybe one of the largest in the state.

Looking downstream you can see glimpses of other smaller falls.  Unfortunately this was my endpoint on this journey as I don’t have necessary climbing gear or support teams to reach the other spots.

On the return trip with my main goal satisfied I was free to enjoy the other sights.  One of the main perks is this fantastic panorama view looking across vast forests towards the city of Superior.

Bonus: Bucktales Burrito

After the long and soggy hike I was ravenous for some lunch.  At the suggestion of some locals I stopped at Bucktales restaurant just north of the park on WI-35.  5/5 would go back again, great food and environment.


Here’s a video of the falls and the hike to get there.  In this case the video is a much better description than the photos, but I still wish I could have seen more through the trees.  Enjoy!


For some reason I split this into two separate tracks, but overall this was 3.3 miles and quite the grind.  For the outbound trip I took a much more difficult (read:wrong) route but it only added 0.3 miles.  Most of that distance was trying to find a place to cross the creek.

Of course on the return trip I had a much better idea which direction to go.  This resulted in a 1.5 mile trek but it was still difficult & soggy.  Not much fun during the trip but I feel quite accomplished.

Lat = 46.5490112 , Long = -92.0971909 -- Show at Google Maps

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