In last week's travel post I shared that we went to the Wisconsin Dells for the weekend (we actually went two weekends in a row we loved it so much!). On Saturday we hiked in Devil's Lake State Park, and then that evening we enjoyed strolling in downtown Wisconsin Dells. The next morning, we took a Wisconsin Dells Upper Boat Tour.
Even though it might be chilly, fall is the perfect time to take an Upper Dells Boat Tour because the foliage is so beautiful! Just be sure to dress nice and warm, as it is chilly when that boat moves on the water.
On the day we took our tour, it was cold (42 degrees) and cloudy and we were FREEZING because the weather app did not predict these cold temperatures so we were not prepared for it. But we huddled close to stay warm, and we couldn't help to enjoy ourselves because the views were so breath-taking.
Can you see why we thought the views were breath-taking? Just look at the color! The dells formation with the colorful foliage on top makes it so much more beautiful than if you took a boat tour in summer and all you saw was green.
So now you're probably wondering "What are Dells?" They are glacier-carved sandstone formations. They surround the Wisconsin River. Their layered appearance is just so interesting.
There are two boat tours in the Wisconsin Dells: an upper dells boat tour and a lower dells boat tour. The upper dells boat tour is twice and long as the lower dells tour and it includes two stops: Witches Gulch and Stand Rock. A dam separates the upper and lower dells.
I believe the large rock formation is called "High Rock".
Now, the number one reason I wanted to take this boat tour was to see Witches Gulch. You see, a year earlier we took the family to the Dells for a weekend fall getaway. On our hotel's wall were vintage photos of this amazing place called "Witches Gulch". I wanted to see it so badly so I googled it to try and find it. To my dismay, I discovered that the area was not open to the public and the only way to see it was to take an Upper Dells Boat Tour. I made a mental note to come back again next year and take a tour.
Witches Gulch is a beautiful slot canyon. PLEASE watch one of the videos at the end of this post to get a feel for this amazing place. You walk through the canyon on a wooden boardwalk. Below the bridge is moving water and a hidden whirlpool chamber. The walls of the canyon surround you and seem to tower above as well. Beautiful green moss covers all the canyon walls.
There are many superstitions surrounding this place, hence the title "Witches Gulch". According to Native American legend a great serpent, wriggled down from the north and his home near the Big Lake, forming the bed of the Wisconsin River. Witches Gulch and Coldwater Canyon were formed by more timid, lesser serpents.
Other tales came from the early raftsmen (if you listen to the videotape on the boat tour below, you will hear our tour guide discuss the early raftsmen and what the river was like before they built a dam and separated the river into the upper and lower dells) who believed that a point in the river known as "Devil's Elbow" was an evil point that had no bottom to the water and was a portal to hell.
I always find it interesting that any beauty of nature is always giving the glory to Satan, instead of to God the creator. No matter where we travel, some beautiful, scenic area is always described "Devils....something".
When you reach the end of "Witches Gulch" there is a concession stand and restrooms. Some might not appreciate the commercialism, but I for one was happy to use the potty and get a cup of hot chocolate to warm my bones.
We had twenty minutes to explore the gulch and visit the restrooms and concession stand. At first, I thought it wouldn't be enough time, but is was enough. We all got back on the boat for our next stop Stand Rock.
Stand Rock is famous for this photograph. You see this famous photograph everywhere you go in the Dells. The photo was taken by photographer H.H. Bennett in 1886. He specialized in landscape photography and his photos of the dells turned the Wisconsin Dells into the major tourist attraction it is today. The photo below is significant because it was Bennett who created a new shutter to allow photographers to take pictures of moving objects. However Bennett's son Ashley still had to make the jump 18 times to get the shot Bennett wanted.
Many people have made the jump between these two rocks over the years. Now, the only one who jumps it is a trained dog. Watching the dog jump the rocks is included in the Upper Dells Boat Tour and you can see it for yourself in one of the videos at the end of this post. And don't worry about the dog. Today there is a safety net underneath the rocks.
To our surprise, after we watched the Dog Jump show the fun wasn't over yet for on the way back to the boat there were even more interesting rock formations with a lot of history to them.
The first one is called "Toadstool Rock", can you guess why?
There is a second concession stand/restrooms in this area but it was closed for the season. On the building of this stand was a large sign explaining the photography of H.H. Bennet and some of the famous rock formations we were now looking at ourselves.
This is "Luncheon Hall". It is this beautiful rock "window" overlooking the Wisconsin River. It's just stunning in person.
And if you caught Monday's Fashion Post, you would have seen this picture. I am standing beneath Visor Ledge...another rock formation H.H. Bennet made famous.
Well, after our last stop at Stand Rock it was time to get back onto the boat and enjoy the trip back. We were the first tour boat out on the water so it was very peaceful. We saw an eagle perched in a tree and lots of kayakers and fishermen.
We really loved our boat tour and wondered why we waited so long to take one. It is surprisingly very inexpensive for all you get on the tour, costing a mere $32.00 for an adult ticket. They also have ghost tours which are taken after dark (I kept wondering how much you could possibly see in the dark, although I did see lights on the side of the river so I think they must light it up nicely), summer sunset dinner cruises, jet boat tours, and the famous "Wisconsin Ducks". I hope to be able to take another tour next year, we still need to see the lower dells!
In the meantime, enjoy the videos we took. They are all super short. I know I will never watch a video that is too long, so I keep them short on purpose.
Dog Jump At Stand Rock
(Guide explains how the early raftsman made it through the waters)
The next three videos show different sections of Witches Gulch!
Have A Great Day! Amy
Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!
wonderful day for a boat ride. stunning landscapes and images.ReplyDelete
Yes, the dells are just breath-taking!Delete
I have always heart about the Wisconsin Dells and wondered what they were-- what beautiful rock formations!ReplyDelete
Me too! The Wisconsin Dells are known to be a tourist trap...which it definitely is. It's like a Vegas in the middle of Wisconsin without the gambling (although there are casinos nearby) and seediness; but it all evolved around the gorgeous, natural elements of the dells. You have to pay to see anything unless you own your own boat/kayak/whatever, but I found the prices of the boat tour very reasonable.Delete
I can't believe it's been so long ago since we visited the Wisconsin Dells (we used to go almost every year with the kids). We so loved this boat ride too and must do it again! The colors are so beautiful!ReplyDelete
I've only been to the dells once as a kid and took a duck ride. I'd love to do that again. It was always out of my families price range to do anything as everything costs money there. As an adult, I haven't seen much of the dells for the same reason. Now however that it is just the two of us, it is a lot more affordable, especially if you go during the off season.Delete
We saw the dog jump show when we were there YEARS ago. Seriously I was probably 13 years old, so 40 years ago. What a fun time Amy,ReplyDelete
Yes, our tour guide gave us a long history of the dog jump. It's been going on for a lot of years. She even said before the dog jumped, the tour guide was required to make the jump. My husband said he would have preferred that. ha ha.Delete
What pretty scenery! I love boat rides like this! Thanks so much for linking up with me at my #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 18, open until November 26. Shared.ReplyDelete
Yes, it is gorgeous and the boat ride was very relaxing.Delete
My daughter may be having her dance competition at Wisconsin Dells, pending on Covid of course! Wow, such beautiful pictures. I can see why you went two weekends in a row. The fall color is so gorgeous.ReplyDelete
Oh, that would be a great place for a dance competition! Would she be going during the off season or in the summer, as things are pretty shut down right now.Delete
Thank you for always being so curious. You find such fantastic places to visit, and looking at all your photos and videos makes me wish I was on the tour as well.ReplyDelete
You're welcome! We have had to dig deeper and find things closer to home to explore due to Covid.Delete
It's nice you got to explore more and travel by boat - it looks like a good tour and a lovely way to travel! You got to see a lot and the colours of the leaves are so pretty! :)ReplyDelete
Hope that you are having a lovely day :)
Away From Blue
It definitely was very nice. Thanks for visiting.Delete
Such fantastic autumn color on your trip! And those formations, wow!! No way would I jump, even when I was young and in shape :)ReplyDelete
It's great to see your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week!
Ha ha! Neither would I! My husband would, even now he said.Delete
What a delightful day. Glad you made a mental note last year to return this year to see the Witches Gulch. Worth waiting for! The rock formations are beautiful. And all the colors in the foliage make me long for a real autumn.ReplyDelete
Yes, it was a delightful day and I'm so happy we returned a year later. Thanks for visiting.Delete
What a very cool place. Beautiful pics.ReplyDelete
It sure is! Thanks so much.Delete
Thank you so much for taking us with you at that boat tour. Colors of nature form boat are amazing, I enjoy so much watching your photos.ReplyDelete
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You are so welcome!Delete
Oh my word what a amazing photos! What a colors and what a history! Isn't this so relaxing and energizing!ReplyDelete
Thanks Nancy! Yes, so many beautiful and a lot of history in this area.Delete
So beautiful. We used to go to the Dells as kids, growing up in Chicago. But back then we took so little pictures so don't have much to remember it by.ReplyDelete
Yes it is. I think everyone who lives anywhere near the state of Wisconsin has a childhood memory of the Dells.Delete
We haven't been to the Dells in years. It is absolutely beautiful this time of year! Your photos of the leaves and rock formations are gorgeous!ReplyDelete
Jill - Doused in Pink
I've lived in Wisconsin my whole life and could count on one hand how many times I've been to the Dells. I'm trying to change that now! Thanks so much!Delete
Gorgeous Autumn beauty! You look so happy to be sharing in nature's beauty.ReplyDelete
Yes it definitely was! I'm always happiest in nature!Delete
It sure was! Thanks for visiting!Delete
Wow what a splendid view- all of it! YOur posts are amazing!! Come linkup over at my Friday LInkup PartyxxReplyDelete
thanks Lucy! I'm only do one fashion post a month now due to Covid, but I'll link up when I have a post.Delete