Making my way home on the short summer weekend wedding trip and stopped off at Willow Rapids in Lynne/Tripoli, Wisconsin. These are a bit off the beaten path but fairly easy to access from gravel forest roads. Today is incredibly sunny and bright making any reasonable efforts at quality photography a total loss, but I’ll share anyways. Also due to the viewing angles it’s actually quite tricky to capture – wide enough you can’t photograph standing close, but not tall enough you can see much from afar. Here’s the only decent photo I took from the ground. Total drop of the main falls I would estimate around 5 feet.
After hiking up & back on some small foot trails and finding zero access through the dense forest canopy, I took to the sky with my drone. Definitely it’s worth visiting to see in person but from a photography standpoint it’s 100% better to see from above. Still difficult to access but I flew a bit downstream and found some small rapids (or possibly a teeny tiny falls but hard to tell, can’t get very close).
Coming upstream there are some small rapids below the main drop. You can see these from the ground if you crawl through the trees. Water levels during this dry summer are very low and I’d wager many of these rocks don’t stay dry in normal rainfall years.
Here’s a view of the main Willow Rapids. You can almost get the same view from the ground but only this slight change in elevation gives a much better angle to see all aspects. Some other people have also called them Willow River Falls or Willow Rapids Falls but you will generally find them on printed/posted maps as Willow Rapids.
Here’s the best view from above showing all parts of the main falls at Willow Rapids. Still incredibly overexposed on those rocks on the right-hand side but you get the idea. One of these days I’m actually going to plan these visits for better lighting conditions instead of just free-wheeling all the time…nah that’s no fun!
Flying a bit above the main falls there are one or two smaller rapids dropping only about a foot. Still fun to see but probably not worth the effort to reach them on foot.
One last look across the Willow River and surrounding forests. This place would look incredible in autumn with the mixture of tree species, might have to plan a revisit!
Here’s a short video of Willow Rapids in action. All with the drone, none of it very good today due to incredibly sunny conditions.
Lat = 45.7002373 , Long = -89.9643173 -- Show at Google Maps