The Amnicon River, which courses through this pleasant park, has a dramatic series of waterfalls and cascades. And surprisingly the water rushing over them is root-beer brown—a color imparted by tannic acid from vegetation. But the waterfalls are more than a scenic attraction. They also make it possible to see the park’s other interesting feature, a geological fault line running through the area. The Douglas Fault, visible at the foot of the Upper Falls, was created about 500 million years ago when a deep layer of volcanic basalt rock began to push its way through the thick sandstone bed on which the park rests. Today at the falls the river flows through a channel in an upthrust cliff of dark basalt before tumbling into a plunge pool and proceeding on to red sandstone cliffs even more eroded and smoothed by the water. Just below the falls a 12-foot-wide zone of brownish red rocks and pebbles (fault breccia) marks the point where the basalt and sandstone ground against each other.
A covered bridge leading to a charming pine-covered island in the river offers excellent views of the falls. The river can be followed on trails that extend along its bank and circle the island. Swimming in the river is a great adventure.
However, jumping or diving off the cliffs isn’t allowed. During the long Wisconsin winter the park provides a tranquil setting for snowshoers.
Open year-round. Admission charged.
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