In being able to grant this site to the public, I have accomplished one of my chief ambitions. For years I have spent so much time amid the surroundings of falls and have received so much real enjoyment there that it gradually became a part of my life. - Martin Pattison
Located 13 miles south of Superior, Wisconsin
, Pattison State Park
is a jewel resting in the northwestern Wisconsin
forests. This 1500 acre park boasts three waterfalls
. Big Manitou Falls
at 165-feet is the highest waterfall in Wisconsin and the fourth highest east of the Rocky Mountains
Running through the park are the Black River and the Douglas Fault. The waterfalls were created by slippage along this fault. Evidence of human occupation within the park dates back to 7000 BC. Artifacts from both Archaic and Copper Culture indians have been found. The park was mined for copper in the late 19th century.
The park was established in 1920 after wealthy Superiorite Martin Pattison bought the land and donated it to the state. From 1935-1942 the park was home to one of the Civilian Conservation Corps units that were working throughout the nation. These crews built beautiful stone and wood buildings, hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and staircases still in use today.
The park is divided into two distinct areas. The main area near the large falls has a Visitor's Center, a 300-foot beach for swimming, a 59-site campground, and numerous tables and grills for picnics. There are trails along both sides of Big Manitou Falls for scenic viewing. The other area is a couple of miles south near the double-pronged Little Manitou Falls. This area has plenty of open spaces for playing games, picnic tables and grills, and trails to view the falls.