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Eau Claire, WI

Big Falls is an Option for Eau Claire Residents to Escape the Summer Heat

Posted by 
Walter Rhein
Walter Rhein
 12 days ago
Image by Walter Rhein

The first few days of summer have been scorchers in the Chippewa Valley. The temperature has routinely gone above 90 degrees and the ten day forecast suggests area residents can expect more of the same.

Anyone who lives in Eau Claire or Chippewa falls who is seeking an escape from the heat should consider Big Falls County Park.

Big Falls is a beautiful recreation area located outside the city of Eau Claire on the Eau Claire River. There are a variety of attractive rock formations, a sand bar, and a nice swimming area. The park can be accessed on either side of the river, and there are toilets available on site.

Rivers are very nice recreation destinations because the moving water makes them feel cleaner than swimming in a lake. A rapid current can also reduce the number of insects, but parents should take extra care when swimming with small children.

For the most part, visitors to Big Falls respect that they aren’t allowed to bring glass bottles of any kind. However, water shoes are recommended because it only takes the shards from a single glass bottle to create a hazard that every visitor has to endure. Big Falls is almost always clear of such dangers, but all it takes is one person breaking the rules to cause a problem for everyone.

Big Falls can be accessed both from the north and the south. The road to the northern access intersects with County Highway Q and the southern access connects with North 130th Avenue.

The park requires a parking pass, but the cost is minimal. Visitors can enjoy Big Falls for five dollars a day, or pay an annual fee of thirty dollars. This is a price per vehicle and not per individual, so Big Falls represents a very affordable recreational destination for large families.

The Eau Claire City-County Health Department always monitors the water at the park to ensure the quality and protect the public. In any given summer, Big Falls might be closed for a few days. If Big Falls is closed, there will be an announcement posted on the Health Department web page or Facebook page.

It’s worth checking these pages before heading out to the park. The closing will also be posted at the park entrance, but it’s advantageous to be informed before you make the drive.

Note that closings infrequently occur at all public water areas. Normally they don’t last more than a few days.

The current at Big Falls is generally manageable, but the water can get high after a heavy rainfall. Visitors should use their best judgement and exercise caution. There is a central island that can be reached by wading. Normally, it’s easier to get to the island if you park at the southern entrance.

Children love the adventure of swimming and exploring the Big Falls area. There is the constant noise of the falls, and there’s even a chute where swimmers can jump into the water and be pushed down the stream. It’s a natural water playground and a wonderful place the whole family can enjoy.

Make sure to add Big Falls County Park to your list of summer destinations.

Address: 11500 Wild Rose Lane, Eau Claire (North Entrance); 600 Big Falls Forest Road, Fall Creek (South Entrance)