Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Camping with Family at Copper Falls State Park

Camping with extended family provides a chance to get closer to nature and closer to one another. Copper Falls State Park in Northern Wisconsin offers a great place for families to enjoy gorgeous scenery, mountain bike trails,  a swim in Loon Lake, or a short paddle. At the concession stand families can enjoy delicious, cool icecream or a hamburger after hiking, and on Sundays and Wednesdays the concession stand offers giant, fluffy pancakes with sausage for breakfast. Copper Falls State Park is located near Mellen in Ashland County, Wisconsin just off State Highway 169.

Video of our Family's Trip to Copper Falls State park

At Copper Falls State Park, the trail with the most scenic variety is the Doughboys trail at the north end of the park, which starts at the concession stand parking area. When hiking in a counter clockwise direction, the trail crosses and follows the river. Highlights include views of the river cascades, Copper Falls, and Brownstone Falls. The trail crosses the river near the Devil's Gate, with views from the bridge of hundreds of cairns hikers have built along the river. The trail follows the river back to the parking area with gorgeous views of the cascades and views down into the gorge. Along the Doughboys Trail, the park does not allow visitors to climb down into waterfalls or the gorge.

Our family really enjoyed photographing the sights and one another along the Doughboys Trail. The kids enjoyed adding to the 100's of cairns located below the bridge beyond Brownstone Falls. I personally hiked the Doughboys Trail five times during our stay.

Copper Falls

Brownstone Falls

View from the other side of the river


At the south end of the park, the Red Granite Falls Trail takes hikers to Red Granite Falls. This trail can be accessed by driving to the Loon Lake parking area or by hiking from the campgrounds along the famous North Country Trail. The park does allow visitors to leave the trail and climb down into the gorge in this area. In fact, you cannot see the falls unless you do so.

The kids enjoyed climbing around on the boulders on this hike. Twice during this trip I hiked from the North Campground along the North Country to Loon Lake and then picked up the Red Granite Falls Trail. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and recommend this to anyone, rather than driving to Loon Lake to hit the Red Granite Trail.

Red Granite Falls

The park provides opportunities to enjoy all of natures wonders, from wildflowers to forest animals.

Flower in the ferns

Campsite visitor #1

Campsite visitor #2

Sweetheart log

Catching the light just right

The North Country Trail

Cousins out for a hike

Hiking with family
Family Selfie

A restful stop

The canoe launch on Loon Lake allows a family friendly paddle opportunity on this fairly small lake. The swimming beach at Loon Lake provides a nice spot to cool off in the water. Most importantly - yes, I did enjoy seeing and hearing loons on Loon Lake.

Am's first time in a kayak

Loon Lake is fairly small and easily explored, so we put the kids in the car and took them for a second paddle at Galilee Lake, which is and easy 15 minutes drive from Copper Falls. We put in at the Wes Jones Memorial Boat Launch and paddled until the mist and rain rolled in.

Kayaking with cousins 

Misty Galilee Lake

We had wonderful time wearing out the kids hiking and re-hiking the trails at Copper Falls State Park. The mountain bike trails, although not as dramatically scenic, offered serenity and their own special beauty. Sadly our wonderful trip ended all too quickly, as wonderful trips always do. We will look forward to another family camping trip next summer.

Along the Vahtera Mountain Bike Trail

Hiking at Copper Falls State Park.

That's all for now. Let's get outdoors and keep our wild places wild!

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