Little Bull Falls (Shawano)

Spring was turning to summer and the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing. Decided to make my way into the woods and away from people…or so I thought? Parking lot at Gilmer Falls was nearly full, tons of people taking advantage of the good weather and swimming & picnicking at the river today. Not surprising that nobody was wearing a mask – Wisconsin is so disappointing sometimes.

Anyways I wasn’t looking for people or Gilmer Falls – I was searching for a more hidden/unknown waterfall named Little Bull Falls (there are 3 of them in Wisconsin that I know about, this one is in Shawano County). There is no formal trail and I’ve failed to find this several times. Today I decided to try from the high route by skirting along where a farm field meets the public lands.

Young deer were all over this area eating in the crops. They didn’t mind my presence much until I got within about 50 yards.

Found out the high route is impassable through thick grass cover that has swampy dropoffs. LOTS of ticks here too!

Tried going to the far north end to see if conditions improved but they actually get worse. Basically a full standing marsh that is impassable.

Next plan was to go back down to Gilmer Falls and follow the river’s route as closely as I could. Overall this is probably the best time of the year to try this tactic as vegetation was relatively tame and you can pass without much trouble. Mosquitos were exploding just this weekend, bring a head net!

Remember the marsh up above? There are 1-2 small runoff crossings along the river but aren’t very deep and have solid bases. If you try this be prepared with some boots otherwise you will get wet feet.

Nearest the falls the trail has climbed back up a small dropoff. You can hear them from up above but can’t really see through the trees. Carefully make your way down to the bottom – it’s steep but if you choose a good line it’s not so bad.

I had finally reached the falls! Looks to be a combination shelf/cascade type falls with a drop of maybe 5 feet or so (hard to estimate, water levels are high). Here is a view standing directly above the falls on the rocks along the bank.

Another angle from just below the falls. The angle of the sun is harsh right now so photos aren’t my best work but it’s still pretty clear.

And here’s a shot from my new Mavic 2 Zoom drone. Quite the learning experience but I can finally get angles of some falls that you would never be able to reach!


Here’s a short video of the falls. First time taking out the new drone, more aerial video to come as I get more time to fly! [UAV Info & Disclaimer]


Tried to locate these falls at first from the top of the ridge going down (red line) but ultimately had to stick closer to the river. Return path (purple line) is the most direct route. Basically you just need to find a way through the woods and follow along the river’s route.

Part 1 – red line. Would have been much shorter if I had known there is no way to access from the top.

Part 2 – return trip from falls directly back to parking area. Not very far but still some difficulty since there is no actual hiking trail.

Lat = 44.8404045 , Long = -88.7177734 -- Show at Google Maps

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