Superior, MN - Events of Sunday, July 10, 2011
Amnicon Falls State Park is located only about 15 minutes away from where we were staying in Superior, WI. In Amnicon Falls State Park, the Amnicon River tumbles over the Douglas Fault. The park features several waterfalls, numerous hiking trails, a picnic area and a primitive camping area. Swimming is permitted below the lower falls. We didn't swim, but Margery did stick her toe in the water and, surprisingly, it wasn't that cold.
The Upper Falls, shown below, is within easy walking distance of the main parking area. You can view the Upper Falls from the bank or from a covered bridge that crosses the river below the falls.
A short distance below the bridge is the Lower Falls where there were about a dozen people swimming. Part of the game is to see how high you can climb up the falls.
There is a nice-size pool below the Lower Falls.
By the way, the brown tint of the water is caused by tannin, not mud or pollution. Many of northern Wisconsin's rivers have their headwaters in forests and bogs, and the water leaches tannin from the fallen tree leaves and from other organic matter. Even the water of Lake Superior is brown, at least at the western end.
Native Americans hunted along the banks of the Amnicon River following the Ice Age. French trappers were the first Europeans in the area in the 1700s. They hunted for beaver, mink and otter and traded with the Indians.
In the 1850s, copper miners came to the area in search of copper ore. They were only marginally successful.
Logging began in the 1880s. Lumberjacks would cut pine along the river, roll the logs into the water during spring snow melt, and float the logs into Lake Superior where they would be taken to Superior and Duluth. There is also the remains of a brownstone quarry in the state park.
In the 1920s, the land where the state park is now located became a county park, then later became a city park, then reverted back to a county park. In 1961, title to the land was given to the state. The state park has since grown to 825 acres.
In the heart of the park, the Amnicon River splits into two branches and forms an island about 400 feet wide and 500 feet long. There is a pair of smaller falls at the split. The branch at the upper left of the photo below flows along the southern side of the island and over the Upper and Lower Falls.
The other branch of the river that flows past the northern side of the island flows over Snake Pit Falls. If you cross the covered bridge at the Upper Falls, you can hike around the island where you can get a good view of Snake Pit Falls.
You can also get a good view from the top of Snake Pit Falls.
Along the northern branch of the river are also several cascades like the one behind Margery in the next photo...
...and the larger one behind Paul.
The photo below shows yet another cascade...
...where Paul made his way down near the edge of the water for a photo.
We spent about an hour hiking around the island, listening to the birds and watching the swimmers. Although the day wasn't excessively warm, there was a lot of humidity around the river with all the falls and cascades. We enjoyed the state park, but we were glad to get back to the air conditioned car. We headed back to the motor home and did some chores in preparation for our departure the next morning. We'll tell you where we went in our next post.