Pattison State Park sign

Pattison State Park

This article chronicles our second visit to Pattison State Park. We visited it almost two years to the day after our first hike here.

Last Time

If you’re interested in comparing the two,
you can read about it and see pictures from that first tour in this Blogspot post.

I didn’t “count” that first visit as part of the completion of our goal of hiking in all the Wisconsin state parks because I hadn’t conceived the idea at the time. (All the above is true of our first hike at Amnicon Falls State Park too.)

Big Manitou to Interfalls Lake

Just as we did the first time around, we parked in the small lot on the west side of Highway 35 and the south side of County B. This is a great place to start your hike because just across County B is the short trail to Big Manitou Falls.

Big Manitou Falls

It’s a little sad that you can’t really get much closer to the biggest waterfall in the state. It could be fun to get under that water at the bottom. (I wouldn’t be surprised if some have tried.)

To get to the main section of the park on the east side of Highway 35, you first cross this bridge over the Black River.

Bridge to underpass

That leads you to an underpass so you don’t have to take your chances on crossing the highway itself.

Underpass entrance

If you take the Beaver Trail counterclockwise from there, you cross the Black River again. There’s a sort of man made falls here that allows the water to flow from Interfalls Lake under the road and to continue its way along the Black River.

Water falling under highway
Water under highway

Interfalls Lake is so named because it’s between Big Manitou and Little Manitou Falls.

Interfalls Lake

Around Interfalls Lake

This temporary reroute sign (or one very much like it) was here two years ago. So just how temporary is it?

Temporary reroute of trail

I think they can safely change the above sign to one as permanent as the one below.

Trail has moved

The bench from which I took the picture below is the most-appropriately-placed seat I have encountered in any state park. It’s appropriate not because it’s at the top of a steep hill, but because of the scenic view it gives. If I were hiking alone, I’d sit here for more than a few minutes.

Scenic overlook from bench

I think this bridge (and some other woodwork along the way) may have been newly constructed in the past two years. The planks and such don’t show much wear or weathering.

New bridge along the trail

Across the way is an older construction called the CCC Bridge on official trail maps. You’ll see a closeup of it in a bit.

CCC Bridge over Black River

There are a couple of flights of stairs on this trail. I took each of these pictures after we had climbed or descended them.

Top of stairs
Bottom of more stairs

At the southern end of Interfalls Lake there is a trail that leads you to Little Manitou Falls. We decided not to take this trail this time around. We still did get to see the falls later, as you’ll see.

Little Manitou trail sign

Very near to that trail is the southern end of that CCC Bridge mentioned earlier.

CCC Bridge steps

Here’s another perspective of Interfalls Lake. You can see the man made falls in the distance.

South end of Interfalls Lake

This little guy wasn’t too afraid of us. We probably could have crept even a little closer before he would have run away.


At the north end of the lake is the beach. It could be kind of a noisy place if traffic on the highway is heavy.


On to Little Manitou Falls

After we hiked back through the underpass, over the bridge, and across County B to the parking lot, we drove south along 35 about a mile to another parking lot that’s very close to Little Manitou. This saved us from using that half-mile trail which would have added a full mile to our hike after backtracking it.

Little Manitou Falls sign
Little Manitou Falls from the south

It seems you can get closer to the top of the falls via some steps near the area in the photo at the above right, but I didn’t take the time to find out. Maybe next time. If you’ve tried that route, let me know.


Nearest City

Superior, Wisconsin (13 miles)

Nearest Emergency Facility

Superior, Wisconsin (13 miles)


6:00 AM to 11:00 PM, year-round


Vehicle admission sticker required

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