Eastern Region Viewing Area
St. Peters Dome / Morgan Falls
Forest: Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
District: Great Divide
Description: This area represents a large block of unfragmented forest, which includes exposed cliffs, streams, a 70 foot waterfall and a breathtaking overlook at the top of St. Peter's Dome (known locally as Old Baldy) which has an excellent view of Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands.
This large site (approx. 5000 acres) of uninterrupted forest is rich in geological and botanical diversity. The site contains several plant communities including northern hardwood, hardwood swamp, sedge meadow and wet- and dry-mesic conifer forests.
St. Peters Dome/Morgan Falls is an excellent site for viewing ferns including the rare Braun's hollyfern (Polystichum braunii) and fragrant woodfern (Dryopteris fragrans), and the beautiful northern maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum). There are also large patches of hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and Canada yew (Taxus canadensis) regeneration, an uncommon occurrence elsewhere. This area is wonderful for viewing of spring wildflowers including large-flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflorum), violets and Dutchman's-breeches (Dicentra cucullaria). Other common plants include trout lily (Erythronium americanum), blue-bead lily (Clintonia borealis) and baneberry (Actaea sp.)
Viewing Information: The trail to Morgan Falls (1.2 miles round trip) was reconstructed in 2002 to make it accessible for people with disabilities. The trail is graveled and the slopes are fairly flat. Morgan Falls is a serene oasis, an almost mystical place. The vegetation is very fragile, some plants rare. Care should be taken to stay on the trail and off the cliffs, rocks, and vegetation in and on the way to the falls.
The trail to St. Peter's Dome (3.6 miles round trip) is fairly rugged with quite a bit of exposed rocks in the trail and steep climb. Signs of past human enterprises can be seen along the way: the old CCC Camp at the trail's onset and remnants of an old stone quarry further up the trail. The trek to the dome's crest is well worth the effort. The panoramic view of the Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior, and the Apostle Islands, is an unforgettable experience.
Safety First: Appropriate footwear for rough terrain is a must. Clothing appropriate for weather conditions is recommended and a compass/topographic map is a necessity for off trail explorations.
Directions: The site is located approximately 15 miles south of Ashland, Wisconsin. Follow County Line Rd. (FR 199) from Cty. Hwy. E to the parking area (fee required). The site is bordered by FR 199 to the west and south and FR 187 to the east.
Ownership and Management: USDA Forest Service, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Contact the Great Divide Ranger District at (715) 264-2511 for maps and travel conditions.
Closest Town: Mellen, Wisconsin.