About Copper Falls and Brownstone Falls
Copper Falls and Brownstone Falls were a pair of the featured waterfalls of Copper Falls State Park.
The Copper Falls waterfall was a segmented and muti-tiered series of drops on the Bad River dropping some 30ft or so.
Given its twisting nature, it wasn’t possible to get an all-inclusive look at it from any one position.
Instead, we had to experience it from a couple of different vantage points to get the full experience, which we’ll get into below.
Meanwhile, the Brownstone Falls could very well be the show stealer of this state park.
It featured a more vertical and singular 40ft drop while surrounded by tall cliffs.
In addition to these waterfalls, we also could have encountered the Tyler Cascades as well as the Red Granite Falls, which we didn’t have the time to do.
Indeed, the Copper Falls State Park definitely had a lot to keep us around and really experience this slice of Nature in Northern Wisconsin.
Julie and I were actually turned onto this falls from a suggestion by a pair of locals that we encountered while visiting the Potato River Falls.
Contrasting the more rugged and potentially riskier scrambling paths to fully appreciate Potato River Falls, the Copper Falls State Park was far more family-friendly.
Experiencing the Waterfalls of Copper Falls State Park
In hindsight, we probably should have hiked the entire 1.7-mile looping Doughboys Trail, which would have encompassed all the different ways to see both the Copper and Brownstone Falls as well as the Tyler Cascades and the Devil’s Gate.
Instead, we did a couple of out-and-back hikes from the well-established parking lot and concession area.
We first kept right (not crossing the bridge by the concession buildings) and followed a wide but wooded path with a short climb leading to a bridge.
From the bridge, we managed to get a top down partial view of Copper Falls.
The view from here wasn’t very fulfilling, but it gave us the sense that there was far more to this waterfall than what we were able to see so far.
Another 1/4-mile beyond the bridge was the signposted lookout for Brownstone Falls and the Bad River Gorge.
Unfortunately, the view of the falls from here was obstructed though I was able to appreciate the depth and ruggedness of the gorge.
This marked my turnaround point though I very well could have kept going towards the Tyler Cascades.
Back at the concession buildings, I then took the other side of the loop by crossing the bridge then following the trail for a few minutes before I reached a railed lookout providing me with a direct view of Copper Falls (pictured at the top of this page).
Once I had my fill of the falls from this vantage point, I then continued further downstream for about another 0.3 miles before reaching the more frontal view of Brownstone Falls.
This was my turnaround point of the hike, but in hindsight, it wasn’t that much additional hiking to complete the loop to cover the parts that I wasn’t able to in doing the two short out-and-back hikes.
So given what we were able to do, it took us just under an hour.
However, I’d imagine that it would take just as much time if we would have done the entire 1.7-mile loop hike in the first place.
Nevertheless, in the end, we definitely enjoyed our experiences at Copper Falls State Park (at least more so than the Potato River Falls).
So we were glad that the Wisconsin couple that we had met earlier in the day made the recommendation to us.
We owe them for this one!
Copper Falls and Brownstone Falls reside in Copper Falls State Park in Ashland County, Wisconsin. It is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
We started our drive to Copper Falls from the Potato River Falls.
For directions on getting to Potato River Falls, see that page’s directions by clicking here.
Once we got back on pavement at the Hwy 169 at Gurney from the Potato River Falls, we then turned right onto the Hwy 169 and drove south for roughly 13 miles.
We then turned right into the well-signed Copper Falls State Park and followed the park road for the remaining 1.5 miles to reach the large parking lot at the end of the road.
This drive took us roughly 25 minutes.
The closest town to the state park was Mellen.
The entrance to the park was just under 2 miles to the northeast of town along Hwy 169.
For some geographical context, Mellen was 200 miles (over 3.5 hours drive) northeast of Minneapolis, Minnesota, 274 miles (over 4.5 hours drive) north of Madison, Wisconsin, and 414 miles (6.5 hours drive) northwest of Chicago, Illinois.
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