Hiking to Potato River Falls in Iron County

The Upper Potato River Falls
The Upper Potato River Falls

Potato River Falls is an Iron County Park where you can access views of the Upper and Lower Potato Falls. The Potato River drops 40 feet over the upper falls and makes a hard turn before dropping 50 feet over the lower falls. There are three trails to access viewing platforms in the park. The county park also offers a fire pit, a pit toilet, and a picnic shelter. Located in Gurney WI, the park is a 20 minute drive from nearby Copper Falls State Park and is a popular excursion for those camping at Copper Falls.

The small county park in Gurney WI that provides views of the Upper and Lower Potato River Falls is a popular wayside for travelers along highway 169 in Northern WI. It only takes a few minutes to view both falls from observation decks. As you drive into Gurney from Mellen, one of the first crossroads you encounter is a gravel road named "Potato Falls Road". (on maps it is called "Falls Road,"). Take a left and follow the gravel road to its end. There is a small circle drive to park on.

Most visitors drive past the first trail which leads down to the river. This is the longest of the trails and descends a steep timber staircase. Near the bottom of the stairs is an observation deck facing the Lower Falls. Views of the falls are distant and obscured from this platform. Continue down the trail to the river. This is the best place for hikers to ford the river. Be sure to have trekking poles and sandals for crossing the river here. Once safely across the river, you can follow the bank upstream to the base of the lower falls.

Back at the top of the gorge, most people will find the shortest path to an observation deck. There is a distant and obscured view of the more magnificent lower falls from here. If you continue hiking along the crest of the gorge you will find your way down another timber stairs to an observation deck for the Upper Falls. This deck provides an unobstructed close view of the upper falls and gorge.

These falls are often cited as the most pretty in Wisconsin, though it is hard to match the beauty of nearby Copper and Brownstone Falls. Gurney is a small town without any service stations or restaurants, so this county park is its big attraction. If you are camping at Copper Falls, this side trip is a necessary excursion. You might also stop over at Wren Falls which is 6 miles south of Gurney on the Tyler Forks.

Check out the videos of the upper falls below.

Overview: Potato River Falls



POINTS OF INTEREST: Potato River, Upper Potato River Falls, Lower Potato River Falls

Directions and Trail Map

Address for your GPS: 13624 WI-169 Saxon, WI 54559
| coordinates: 46.463442, -90.5291889 |

From Milwaukee5 1/2 hours
From Madison5 Hours
From Green Bay4 Hours
From Wausau2 1/2 Hours
From Minneapolis4 Hours
From Chicago7 Hours


Stairs to the lower Potato River Falls
Stairs to the lower Potato River Falls

Stairs to the Upper Potato River Falls
Stairs to the Upper Potato River Falls

Potato River Gorge downstream of the Lower Falls
Potato River Gorge downstream of the Lower Falls