High Falls & Spillway

Lost all of yesterday from the yellowjacket sting and still feeling crappy this morning, however I am not letting it stop me. Too many great places to visit – starting with this morning’s first feature at High Falls & Spillway in Crivitz, Wisconsin. Access is very easy – just park at the High Falls Dam gravel lot on…you guessed it, High Falls Road…and you have arrived. The best ground view is from the road bridge crossing the Peshtigo River but it is quite far away.

Here’s a zoomed in view. I’m testing my new iPhone 13 Pro today which has a dedicated 3x zoom lens and it works pretty well. Paired with a DJI OM 5 gimbal for steadier video. Photo below is with my “normal” Sony a6400 camera because it’s impossible to beat a good fullsize lens. Everything is still quite far away though.

The power plant for the dam spillway is off to the left side when facing the falls. Not much to see there, but you can tell from the surrounding trees that colors are probably 25% of peak right now. Looks good, but still a long ways to go.

Nearest the parking area you can get the closest groud view but it is partially obstructed by trees and rocks. It does seem like a popular spot for fishing though, lots of bobbers and lures hanging from the power lines overhead from errant casts.

View From Above

Easily the best way to get a full view of this particular falls is from the sky. Launched my DJI Mavic 2 Zoom and after a nice short flight I captured all the images below [UAV Info & Disclaimer – follow the rules!]. Here’s the “main” waterfall feature which is a drop of maybe 10 feet at the bottom of the run.

Here’s a better angle of that same falls. I think it’s clear how a little bit of elevation gives a whole new perspective. Much easier to see the entire section of river.

Going upstream from the bottom there is stretch of rapids that climbs quickly in elevation. None of the individual drops is anything spectacular, but overall the river level rises 10-20 feet in this short section alone.

At the very top is the spillway and probably the largest individual rapids of the middle section.

Here’s a better view of the spillway, again with a little bit of extra elevation. I’m bad at estimating heights but the dam/spillway has to be a good 30 feet tall, maybe more depending where you measure from. Right now only two of the spillway gates are open but it looks like there are 4 more for higher flows. The large smooth concrete secton off to the right is an emergency overflow when levels are very high.

Up above the dam is the Peshtigo River / High Falls Reservoir. Quite a large body of inland waters. You can see there are some small islands in this area – I believe this entire area is part of the Governor Earl Peshtigo River State Forest, would be cool to paddle out to them in the kayak someday.

Here is an extremely wide view from a much greater elevation to show the entire section of rocky turbulence. I don’t recall exact elevation here but it’s well within the 400 ft ceiling, probably only 100 feet above ground.

Looking in the opposite direction downstream on the Peshtigo River shows the surrounding State Forest areas and the leaves. Again, colors are nowhere near peak but starting to look very nice. I’m hopeful that for a change I’ve timed the changeover correctly.


Here’s a video of the falls and spillway in action. I have to admit I was trying some new settings and techniques and it didn’t work as well as I hoped because my skills were rusty (and my swollen face was still bothering me). But I can say it’s still probably some of the best footage I’ve taken to date. Stay tuned for the rest of the trip – I definitely improved on this as time went along. Enjoy!

Lat = 45.2786217 , Long = -88.1977615 -- Show at Google Maps

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