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  • Writer's pictureLara Draxler

Amnicon State Falls Camping-Trip Report

We recently returned from our last (and second ever) family camping trip of the summer. It was a very adventurous weekend! We drove 2 hours north to Amnicon Falls State Park. We weren't too far from Superior, Bayfield, and the Apostle Islands-an area of the state that I love.

Honestly, I chose this park because it was one of the only Northwestern WI ones that had any open campsites when we booked this back in July. However, I am really glad we did. The big draw to this park are the amazing waterfalls. We loved the campground, but my favorite part was definitely exploring the waterfalls and surrounding trails.

We stayed near the campground entrance. Our campsite was quite a bit more narrow, aka small and cozy, than where we stayed on our June trip. But, we were far removed from neighbors and felt we had more privacy. We set up our whole camp in about 30 minutes. It really helps to have older kids in this regard. They are capable of pitching in and helping a lot. Our favorite thing we purchased for this trip was a gazebo tent to put over our picnic table. It really provided nice shade and protection from the elements and bugs. You can find it here on Amazon. I also enjoyed using a vinyl table cloth on the picnic table. It made cleanup a lot easier.

As we set up on Friday, I was getting a few messages from friends (we had very limited cell service at this park) about some bad storms moving our way :) Little did we know, we were up for a MAJOR adventure throughout the weekend with bugs, weather, rushing river rapids, and extreme heat.

I always like to walk to truly find my way around a new place. I had already downloaded a map of the park and started walking around to orient myself. As I made the loop around the campground, I was happy to see that we weren't far from a bathroom or water pump. The bathrooms were outhouse style, but at least we had one. The water fountains were turned off due to COVID, but at least we had a pump to fill buckets, water bottles, etc. with clean drinking water. We also brought 4 gallons of frozen water we bought from Aldi. We would really need this water throughout the weekend due to VERY high temps and humidity.

After exploring the campground, I headed down to check out the waterfalls. I had NO idea how expansive or beautiful they would be! I love the sound of rushing water. It was so fun to explore the beauty of this place. We also really enjoyed swimming there on Saturday.

Friday night, we decided to try campfire nachos. We have spent a lot of time outdoors this summer but were ready to try something besides hot dogs on hamburgers on the grill. I found this amazing campfire cooking blog, Let's Camp S'more, which was FILLED with amazing ideas! These nachos turned out great and were a big hit. To save time, I had browned the taco meat at home and put it into a bag in the cooler.

campfire nachos before hitting the fire

We also enjoyed making s'mores Friday night. Those never get old haha. I REALLY love using the jumbo marshmallows! You can find them on Amazon or at Aldi or Walmart.

Friday night, we slept through a TERRIBLE thunder storm. The wind was howling, water blew and seeped ALL in our tents. We woke up to a mucky mess. At one point, my husband was checking the radar on his phone to see if we needed to take cover in the truck. It was kind of cool to stay we slept outdoors in a thunderstorm, but also a little scary. In addition, our 25 year old Coleman tent that we have since retired, showed it was no longer waterproof :( And we got pretty darn soaked. The following day was super humid and nothing dried out at all. By the time we got home Sunday, we were drenched to the bone, as were all our things. I basically had to wash EVERYTHING because of the intense storm and ensuing humidity.

calm after the storm--view from my WATER SOAKED air mattress

We have decided that we will invest in a new tent for our next trip, most likely a Coleman because you can't beat them for quality. We are hoping to get a bigger one with more space and an entry section to put muddy shoes, jackets, etc.

Saturday turned out to be a REALLY hot and humid day. By 11:30 am we were all ready to walk down to the waterfalls and get in. We got into swimsuits and walked down to the beautiful water area.

We spent at least 2 hours down at the water hiking down to different parts of the falls, exploring the pools and falls and cooling off. The rapids were rushing and a little muddy due to the storm the night before, but we still really enjoyed it.

After swimming and exploring, we headed back to camp for snacks and sandwiches. It was SO hot that by 3:30 pm, we all had to get into the truck and sit in the AC for 30 minutes. We were all overheating and dehydrating...when we had checked the weather report before we left, the highs had not indicated a 94 degree heat index (also VERY unusual for Northern WI)..we were spent, but the time in the AC rejuvenated us enough to prepare dinner...another yummy one from the Let's Camp S'more blog, campfire pizza.

Originally, the pizza called for prep in the Dutch oven. Ours is pretty small, so I ended up just using two aluminum baking pans that we brought along. These can be used a couple times, but also then thrown away. They worked great, and I would definitely use them again. We want to invest in campfire oven in the future as well so we can easily cook things and boil water without getting burned by direct contact with flames. We found that mixing some charcoal and lighter fluid with paper or cardboard, along with firewood, gave us a fire quickly and efficiently.

actually really yummy! Kids loved it.

To cool down some more, we decided to drive to the nearest Culver's and get ice cream. It really did help. :) Our second night, we didn't have storms, but it was SO hot and muggy in the tent. None of us slept well. It's crazy how much you are at nature's whim when you are truly out in the elements. Certainly made us all thankful for our comfortable, climate controlled home.

We ended up packing up early the next morning and cutting our trip a little short due to MORE storms. These were pretty severe and we packed up and got out of camp JUST before a terrible thunderstorm hit. We made the two hour trek home and stopped for a Kwik Trip breakfast.

Overall, we really enjoyed the park and our adventures there. Some of our less favorite moments we truly had no control over due to Mother Nature. We would definitely return to this park and recommend it to others. Every camping trip, we learn something new, and we really do look forward to more future family camping adventures.

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1 Comment

Sarah Williams
Sarah Williams
Aug 12, 2020

What an adventure! You write about all the hardships so positively that you made them seem fun! I would have been in the truck at the first sound of thunder! All the food looks delicious ..congratulations to all of you!

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