Hiking to Cascade Falls and Eagle Bluff in Osceola WI

 share this article
 follow


Cascade Falls at Wilkie Glen in Osceola WI
Cascade Falls at Wilkie Glen in Osceola WI


Located in Osceola's quaint downtown commercial district you'll find the access point for a delightful and potentially heart pounding hike to a hidden gorge, waterfall, and bluff overlooking the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The trails accessed here include the: Wilke Glen and Cascade Falls Trail, Eagle Bluff Trail, and Simenstad Trails. All of these trails are connected. Taken together they add up to 1 1/4 miles of trail and include one mountaineering rated climb. The trail down to see the falls in Wilkie Glen is simply a flight of stairs from N. Cascade Street into the gorge.




A Carved Figure of Chief Osceola at the trailhead of Cascade Falls and Wilkie Glen
A Carved Figure of Chief Osceola at the trailhead of Cascade Falls and Wilkie Glen



The signs in the shop windows read "Welcome Detourists". They proclaimed the slogan of this tiny town as The best small town you never meant to visit. For me, these words rang true. I only ended up in Osceola because I failed to reserve a campsite at Interstate State Park early enough for Labor Day weekend. I found a room available in Osceola at the last minute.

In need of a good coffee on a rainy morning I found that Expressions Coffeehouse had one of the only espresso machines in the county. As I warmed up with a double dose of pure caffeine the rain broke just long enough for me to step out onto main street. Dressed in sandals I was certainly not planning on a hike that morning. But, curiosity got the better of me. I saw a wood Indian and sign for Cascade Falls and I had to investigate.

Down a flight steps into a deep green pit there it was, a wilderness retreat with a picturesque waterfall - somehow tucked in between and underneath highways and a downtown shopping district. The falls may have been even more impressive due to the rainy weather.

After inspecting the waterfall I moved on along the trail to see where it might go. I was invested in this learning journey. The Wilkie Glen trail followed the Osceola Creek to where it joined the St. Croix River beneath the highway 243. And that is where I found the beginning of the Eagle Bluff Trail.

In a matter of 10 minutes I had climbed from beneath a towering causeway bridge to a promontory looking down on it from a perch on Eagle Bluff. The trail is essentially a vertical scramble up the bluff and a mountaineering rated climb according to my tracking app. In the wet and rain and while wearing sandals I can tell you that this was a slippery and muddy scramble and an even more perilous journey back down.

On top the bluff the Eagle Bluff Trail joins the Simenstad Trail which is an easy loop trail around the crest of the bluff. If your only goal is to see the river valley from a high overlook, you can skip the Eagle Bluff Trail and just take the easier Simenstad Trail to the top.

I never expected to be in Osceola, never expected to stop in its charming downtown, and never expected to find these amazing hikes and sights. It is double the pleasure when you find something very special that you weren't looking for. But, now you know the story of this place, so you can plan to visit Osceola and its amazing scenic wonders.



View of St Croix National Scenic River from Eagle Bluff in Osceola WI
View of St Croix National Scenic River from Eagle Bluff in Osceola WI


Cascade Falls, Eagle Bluff, Simenstad Trails in Osceola WI


COUNTY: Polk
COMMUNITIES: Osceola
TOTAL MILES: 1.25 miles
DIFFICULTY: Easy-Difficult

POINTS OF INTEREST: Wilke Glen, Cascade Falls, Osceola Creek, St. Croix National Scenic River, Eagle Bluff, Downtown Osceola

Directions and Trail Map





Address for your GPS: 101 North Cascade Street, Osceola, WI 54020
| coordinates: 45.319751, -92.706077 |

From Milwaukee5 Hours
From Madison4 Hours
From Green Bay4 Hours
From Wausau3 Hours
From Minneapolis1 Hour
From Chicago6 Hours


Photos


CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGES

Stairs into Wilkie Glen in downtown Osceola WI
Stairs into Wilkie Glen in downtown Osceola WI

Cascade Falls at Wilkie Glen in Osceola WI
Cascade Falls at Wilkie Glen in Osceola WI

Under the bridge along the St. Croix River in Osceola WI Eagle Bluff Trail
Under the bridge along the St. Croix River in Osceola WI Eagle Bluff Trail

Eagle Bluff Trail in Osceola WI
Eagle Bluff Trail in Osceola WI




Video








No comments:

Post a Comment