Dells of Eau Claire

A summer-winter contrast

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources describes the Dells this way:

“The Dells of the Eau Claire River protects a scenic, narrow rocky gorge and waterfalls where geologic processes have resulted in an unusual tilting of bedrock. On this picturesque stretch of the Eau Claire River, the river cascades over rock outcrops ... the river tumbles and spills across the rock's cleavage planes while it runs smoothly in other areas."

I’ve got a mix of summer and winter photos to show you.

But I’ll start with this one. This photo shows the roaring Dells of Eau Claire following the 2010 floods on November 3, 2010.  Okay, let’s move on.

Some 10,000 years ago, the massive Wisconsin glacier began to melt. The meltwater created torrents of rushing water that, in a few instances, cut spectacular gorges in several areas of the State, one of which is the Dells of the Eau Claire. This geologic wonder is part of a much larger glacial landscape of remarkable beauty.

The park is located east of Wausau, following STH 52 east to County Road Y, turn right on Y, and you'll come right to the park quickly.

This is an overview shot of the main gorge area that attracts lots of fun-loving people, a great spot for kids. I must warn you that there are dangers. Rookies must be very careful, especially if using the water in any recreational way.  Just left of center, you can see some white water with a two-level ledge and people standing on the shelves. They dive from there into the gorge. Then there are all kinds of little areas to swim. The water is pretty shallow in some places and deep in others. I have been told that there are fatalities from whirlpools every year.

This is a photo of the same area in winter. Winter days at the Eau Claire Dells can be delightful.

This is a view looking upstream.  The water here is about to pick up speed and enter the gorge.

The water becomes white water as it flows through this area. Once the water passes through the gorge, it enters a pool. I believe the pool is pretty deep.

I believe the water in the pool is deep because I watched the younger set dive off the cliffs into the pool! Here you see the youngsters standing on the cliff above the pool. They are assessing the risks and their bravado. Let’s watch!

This guy decided to jump instead of dive.

As a reminder, this is a photo of the water as it flows out of the Gorge.

You see people in the pool after the water has exited the gorge. Some swim here, but most dove or jumped into the pool.

Below the gorge and pool are tiny waterfalls, probably only a couple of feet in height. Small, yes, but as you can see from these two guys, they are fighting to stay above the falls.

In this case, the Falls win.

Here you can see people just enjoying their swim in the water. Note there is a current, so it always pays to be careful.

These photos give you a look at the rock formations.


I have always loved this view of the cave. I have yet to see anyone swim in there to explore, but I suspect some have done so!

Yes, it is toward the end of winter, but it is a nice day, and people enjoy sitting on the rock and soaking in the sun.

I want to take you back to the 2010 floods on November 3, 2010. These not photos show how a lovely dels location can turn its mighty hand after a flood.