Nov 10, 2015

Marinette County - Waterfalls Capital of Wisconsin

By: W. Butch Kostreva

Marinette County is the best kept secret of Wisconsin and has something for every outdoor enthusiast! 12,370 acres of lakes, 623 miles of streams, the Menominee, Peshtigo, and Pike Rivers, and the flowages of the Crivitz area beckon you to enjoy a variety of experiences.

Marinette County is the third largest county in Wisconsin and ranks 20th in tourism revenue out of the 72 Wisconsin counties. Marinette County is known as the Waterfalls Capitol of the state, and continues to grow its tourism dollars.  Our self-guided Waterfalls Tour provides a fun, family-friendly way to get back to nature. The possibilities are endless and include ATVing, snowmobiling, hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, hunting, fishing, and even whitewater rafting!

Marinette County contains 304 rivers and streams with a total length of 920 miles. There are 191 rivers and streams classified as trout waters making this the highest number and miles of trout streams of any county in the state. Fifty-two streams or stream sections are designated as Outstanding Resource Waters (ORW).  An additional 109 streams are designated as Exceptional Resource Waters (ERW). These are also more than any other county the state.

Being in the Northwoods, the area is of course well known for its hunting.  Deer, bear, birds, small game and more are all hunted here.  

There's no question about it. The first thing hunters associate with Marinette County is whitetail deer, and with good reason. Marinette County has one of the largest whitetail deer populations in North America. With both bow and rifle season every year, many hunters come out of the woods with trophy-sized bucks.

But deer are just the beginning of the story. Turkey hunting is getting to be a very big sport in the central portion of the county. Pheasants are found in the agricultural, southern third of the county. And with black bear throughout Marinette County, bear hunting is getting bigger all the time.

Marinette County has huge tracts of county-owned public hunting land. If you enjoy hunting, then a great adventure is in store for you! The area is home to white-tailed deer, black bear, grouse, turkey, geese, bobcat, coyote, fox, muskrat, raccoon and pheasant.

Some of the noted areas for hunting  Marinette County are the; Dunbar State Natural Area - 1,320 acres, Miscauno Wildlife Area - 635 acres, Town Corner Wildlife Area - 904 acres, Pike Wild River - 3,646 acres, Amberg Wildlife Area - 1,150 acres, Lake Noquebay Wildlife Area - 1,300 acres, Beaver Creek Fishery Area - 1,080 acres, Peshtigo Harbor Unit - Green Bay West Shores - 3,660 acres. These Marinette County hunting lands are all state-owned.


Marinette County Fishing

Where does one begin when talking about the third largest county in Wisconsin? We have 444 lakes, totaling over 12,000 acres of water. Marinette County waters sport a diverse fish population, offering something for every angler. If an angler can't find a place to their liking in Marinette County, they might as well quit fishing! Besides the variety in the types of fish you will find, you will also find a variety in the type of water you can choose to fish.  Many of the lakes in Marinette County offer fantastic ice fishing. Caldron Falls Flowage, High Falls Flowage and Lake Noquebay are probably the best areas to drop your line. Giant panfish can be found if you try the right areas, but if you are just looking for dinner, you will not be disappointed. Hand-sized bluegills, perch and crappie can be caught regularly. If you stay shallow, the northern pike and musky stroll through the weed beds looking to feed. In winter, this is a prime location to set your tip-ups. With so many fishing options you might need to add a few more days onto your vacation.

Marinette County ATV / UTV Riding Experience

ATV / UTV riding is becoming one of the popular outdoor sports of Marinette County. Easily accessible trails through the forest and open areas offer scenic photo opportunities. The natural Northwoods beauty we appreciate is magnified on a sporting ATV ride. Volunteers from the six Marinette County ATV Clubs provide wide, well-maintained trails for your riding enjoyment. ATV operation is allowed on designated ATV trails that are clearly marked with the state approved brown and white 6” x 6” ATV trail signs. Municipalities throughout the county have also designated road routes marked by green signs to aid in accessing the trail systems.

Trails are easily accessible with park-n-ride locations set throughout the county. The first and only all-terrain vehicle campground in Marinette County is located at McClintock County Park, a few miles north of Silver Cliff. Just south of the park’s day use area on County I, McClintock County Park offers a rustic campground with direct trail access. Marinette County is one of the few counties in Wisconsin that offers year-round ATV trails. (2 pictures ATV photos)

Marinette County Snowmobiling & Trails

With the help of our eight snowmobile clubs, Marinette County offers superb snowmobile trails. Over 330 miles of wide, scenic, well-groomed and clearly marked trails await your riding pleasure. You can ride the Marinette County snowmobile trails from the south in Oconto County all the way into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and from the shores of Green Bay, west to Florence and Forest Counties.

Trails are developed and maintained on both public and private property. Touring the trails will take you through miles of winding, tree-lined areas with rolling hills and open fields. This is where you will enjoy the breathtaking scenery that Marinette County has to offer.

Snowmobiling gets more popular every year in our area, as visitors discover this area's vast interconnected network of well cared for trails.  Trails usually open the end of  November or in December, depending on snow conditions, and close around March 15. Be sure to stay on marked trails at all times.  


Marinette County Parks

Marinette County operates 22 county park properties: 11 scenic "large parks" with six of them offering well-kept, beautifully wooded campgrounds, four small day-use/wayside parks, six boat landings, and a youth camp. Come hike, picnic, whitewater raft, fish, or just relax and enjoy the waterfalls. 
Camping is available on a first come, first served basis. Morgan Park and Twin Bridges Park offer campsites you can reserve ahead of time.

Morgan Park

Morgan Park is located on Timm's Lake, six miles east of Pembine. In 1958, Marinette County accepted responsibility for developing the park from local youth and civic groups. It provides a 44-sites all with electricity (16 sites are available on first come, first serve basis).

Goodman Park

Goodman Park has a 15-site campground on the Peshtigo River in the heart of the Marinette County Forest. Goodman Park offers a bridge over Strong Falls on the upper Peshtigo River along with numerous nearby streams provides trout fishing.

Veterans Memorial Park

Veterans Memorial Park is located in the Town of Stephenson features a bridge over the waterfall. The reflecting pool at the bottom of the falls often plays host to local trout fisherman. Rustic camping and a large day-use area are also available.

McClintock Park

McClintock Park has four bridges over rapids on the upper Peshtigo River, trout fishing, many great picnic spots, camping, and an interesting hardwood-hemlock timber stand. With 2 entrances the 10-site rustic campground is located right along the Peshtigo River. Water is available at a hand pump.

Twelve Foot Falls Park

Twelve Foot Falls Park was built in 1956 and 1957 in the center of the County's largest forest plantation. Old time river drivers, who helped move the pine timber logged in the area named the falls by the distance the river dropped over the rock edge. Rustic camping sites are located near the reflecting pool of the falls.

Thunder Mountain Park

Thunder Mountain Park is an undeveloped 160 acre area in the town of Stephenson. The park provides scenic views, peace and quiet. From Crivitz, take Hwy. W west 14 1/2 miles to Cauldron Falls Road. Turn north and go three miles to Thunder Mountain Road. Turn west and go one mile to the mountain.

Twin Bridges Park

Twin Bridges Park is used mainly for water skiing and power boating on the Peshtigo River's High Falls Flowage. Campers can choose from 62 sites with electricity. Picnic tables, outhouses, tent sites, trailer sites, swimming, beach, dressing rooms, playground.

Dave’s Falls Park

Dave’s Falls Park is named after a log driver who died in a log jam on the wild Pike River, this park offers a scenic view of the falls as they pound through little canyons and rock outcroppings. From Wausaukee travel north on Hwy. 141. The park is 1/2 mile south of Amberg off 141. It offers picnic tables, outhouses, hiking, playground.

Lake Noquebay Park

At Lake Noquebay Park, children can swim safely on the south shore, where the water is shallow and a bathhouse is located close to the beach. It also has picnic tables & shelters, toilets, swimming, dressing rooms, baseball, volleyball, playground and boat landing.

Menominee River Park

The Menominee River Park waters have remained relatively pristine. Picnic here, enjoy the river, or launch a boat. Picnic tables, shelters, outhouses, hiking, playground and  boat landing is all available. The majority of this trail system is open year round except for approximately the month of April due to soft & wet trail conditions during the spring break-up. 

Marinette County Waterfalls

Our world-famous waterfalls tour offers short and long hikes in serene, natural settings. About half of the waterfalls on our tour are located in the Marinette County Parks system.

Piers Gorge - Niagara, WI

Piers Gorge is located on the Menominee River, Cross the bridge into Michigan on Highway 8 near Niagara and watch for signs. Great rafting at these falls.  Great fishing as well!

Smalley Falls - Pembine & Niagara, WI

To Smalley Falls, head north on Highway 141 to Morgan Park Road, located between Pembine and Niagara. Turn east on Morgan Park road and watch for a sign indicating the turnoff to the falls (1/4 mile). Steep slopes offer a beautiful view of the falls. The turnoff leading to the parking area can be rough.

Long Slide Falls - Pembine & Niagara, WI

For Long Slide Falls continue on Morgan Park Road to a sign showing the turnoff to Long Slide Falls. Parking is provided; the falls is about a 1/4 mile walk on a nice walking trail. The falls drop about 50 feet through unique rock formations. It's a magnificent scene.

Eight Foot Falls - Amberg & Pembine, WI

Eight Foot Falls is just a short walk through the campground area at Twelve Foot Falls.  This is very rugged terrain!

Veterans Park Falls - Crivitz WI

The Veterans Park Falls is a beautiful county park on the Pike River, located 1 mile south of Amberg on Highway 141.The Park includes 2 waterfalls with unique rock formations. There are grills for cooking, playground and restroom facilities.

Carney Rapids - Goodman WI

For Carney Rapids follow Hwy 8 east from Goodman a short distance to Old Country Road A, where you’ll turn south and go approximately two mile to the first bridge. Carney Rapids is not a waterfall, but an area of rushing water that can be viewed from the road just to the west of the bridge.

Four Foot Falls - Goodman WI

The road to Four Foot Falls is just north of the bridge on County Road A where Carney Rapids is located. This is a gravel road that leads to a parking lot.

Strong Falls - Goodman, WI

To Strong Falls, head north on Hwy 141 to Morgan Park Road, located between Pembine and Niagara. Turn east on Morgan Park road and watch for a sign indicating the turnoff to the falls (1/4 mile). The turnoff goes to a small grassy parking area and the trail leads to the falls. Steep slopes offer a beautiful view of the falls. The turnoff leading to the parking area can be rough.

Eighteen Foot Falls - Dunbar, WI

The Eighteen Foot Falls is about 1 mile from Twelve Foot Falls. Go north from the park to the second sand road on the right. Drive or walk to the parking area. Follow the foot path to Eighteen Foot Falls on the Pike River.

Horseshoe Falls  - Dunbar, WI

To Horseshoe Falls take Twelve Foot Falls Road south of Trout Haven Road to Forest Road 510 (FR510). Take FR-510 about 1/2 mile to the turnoff to the falls (watch for signs). This turnoff leads to a small parking area where a walking trail leads to the falls.

Bull Falls - Amberg, WI

To Bull Falls take Highway K east of Highway 141 about 1/2 mile to the power line right of way. Walk a couple blocks north under the lines. A path takes you to the rapids on the Pike River. 

Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is a great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors in the winter. In Marinette County, you’ll find both a state park and state forest with miles of groomed trails open to skiers. Peshtigo River State Forest features two groomed loops, one that is five miles long and another that is three miles long.

Gov. Thompson State Park also has six miles of groomed ski trails. Candlelight ski and hike nights are held at both locations. Marinette County also offers cross-country ski trails along the Peshtigo River at the Hemlock Curve trails. The Woods Road ski trail is another great option. 

Birding and Wildlife

Birding is fast becoming a very popular pastime for Marinette County residents. The Chappee Rapids Audubon Society has designed a checklist with key observation areas so you know where the best locations are to find the birds and mark the birds you see when you visit Marinette County.

Along the marsh and wetland areas, you can expect to find swans, geese, ducks, shorebirds, herons, cranes, gulls and bald eagles. During winter, you may see a snowy owl, shrikes, redpolls or rough-legged hawks, while spring may bring migrating passerines. Inland, you just might see woodpeckers, cardinals, indigo bunting, blue jays and many more striking colored beauties.

To find out more information, please go to our website:  Here you will find information about all of these activities along with where you can stay, hunt, eat and rent whatever you’d like to try your hand at. Just remember there is some much to do at the “Real North,” Marinette County.