Wisconsin June 17, 2018
This Waterfall Staircase Hike May Be The Most Unique In All Of Wisconsin
One of the very best hikes in all of Wisconsin is tucked into Governor Dodge State Park. This short, half-mile trail that takes you right up to Stephens Falls. You descend a staircase that feels like it magically transports you to a totally different world.
This state park in Dodgeville is full of gorgeous trails, with two lakes and a cave trail. But the star is the short path to Stephens Falls.
Stephens Falls are a 20-foot cascade over a mossy cliff into a small pool. The falls are named for the Stephens family, who operated a farmstead here from the late 1800s until WWII.
The falls are created by a nearby natural spring that would have provided water for the farmers who settled here.
The park is located in Wisconsin's driftless area, and the falls are in one of the valleys left from when this area was covered by a vast sea. The cliffs here are sandstone that is more than 400 million years old.
The trail itself is paved and boardwalked and well-maintained and you can make it to a lookout over the falls rather easily.
The trees and forest create a stunning backdrop for your short trek to the falls.
But it's the descent down to the floor of the valley that can get a bit trickier.
Some natural stone steps help carry you down to the pool at the bottom of the falls.
With the craggy cliffs, natural stairs and stunning setting, this area looks like it could be out of a hobbit book or some alternate universe, like the staircase is a pathway into another land.
The trip down to be nearer to the falls is totally worth it in any season. In colder months the water freezes and you can walk behind the falls. The staircase down to the pool and bottom of Stephens Falls is truly one of the best and most unique hikes in all of Wisconsin.
Governor Dodge State Park is located at
4175 WI-23, Dodgeville, WI 53533
What other short and sweet hikes do you love? Let us know in the comments! Looking for more short Wisconsin hikes? Check out
11 Amazing Wisconsin Hikes Under 3 Miles You’ll Absolutely Love.