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Wisconsin Attraction ~ See Pictures of Scenic Wisconsin Dells

Updated on February 26, 2016

Wisconsin Dells

My parents took my brothers and me to the Wisconsin Dells when we were children and the Dells made quite an impression in our minds even then. My husband, grandmother and I once again visited the Wisconsin Dells in 1973 and it was his first visit to that scenic part of Wisconsin.

It has now become a huge playground and draws visitors from not only around the State but elsewhere as well.

Many amenities have been added since the early days as several of the videos included in this post will show.

But the lure of this part of the country goes back to the times of past ages when glacial ice scoured this part of the country leaving behind hills, countless lakes, rivers and rock formations.

The Wisconsin River winding its way through beautifully sandstone sculpted rocks capped off with plants and trees of various kinds was the original lure to tourists visiting this area by land and by boat.

Wisconsin Dells scenery

Wisconsin Dells
Wisconsin Dells | Source

Boatrides on the Wisconsin Dells

Boats ready for boarding at the Wisconsin Dells
Boats ready for boarding at the Wisconsin Dells | Source
Boatrides on the Wisconsin Dells
Boatrides on the Wisconsin Dells | Source

Wisconsin Dells

My grandmother and husband walking towards the area where we would purchase our tickets for a boat ride.
My grandmother and husband walking towards the area where we would purchase our tickets for a boat ride. | Source

Wisconsin River

The Wisconsin River has its origins up by the Wisconsin - Michigan border and winds primarily in a southwest direction emptying into the Mississippi River near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

The river is distinctively dark in color.

The reason for this is that the otherwise clear water is tinged an amber color by the roots of tamarack trees growing in swampy areas further north.

Many dams along the river provide hydroelectric power and one in the Dells area divides the Upper Dells from the Lower Dells.

It is on the Lower Dells that numerous boats transport visitors to view the landscape both from the water and also to points where tourists disembark and do some walking to see the sights on land.

The Upper Dells boat trips showcase more of the scenery and the boats wind around some freestanding rocks in the water while the boat captains tell passengers much about the history of this area.

Other modes of transportation in which seats can be acquired for a price are on Ducks ( old World War II transports ) that take seated visitors on both land and water excursions if one chooses that option of viewing the Dells. In addition one can view these waters and scenery by canoe, kayak, motorized boats, paddle wheeler boats or even the exhilarating jet boat rides.

Winnebago Chief

Winnebago Chief
Winnebago Chief | Source

Indian tents at the Wisconsin Dells

Indian tents at the Wisconsin Dells
Indian tents at the Wisconsin Dells | Source

Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial 1997

Winnebago Indians

Many Winnebago Indians seem to have settled in the Wisconsin Dells area and used the Wisconsin River for not only a source of water but of transport. Indian tribes such as the Menominee, Chippewas, Dakotas and others would have also used the river for trading purposes throughout the years.

The Winnegago's grew corn, beans and squash but relied heavily upon fishing and hunting for sustenance. They were also reputed to be fierce warriors.

Evidence of arrowheads and other artifacts like bits of Indian pottery and hunting implements have been found in this area and are now displayed for visitors to see. Burial mounds are also located in this general locale.

The Indian Ceremonial where costumed American Indians can be viewed chanting and dancing is an integral part of what visitors to the Wisconsin Dells have encountered from the time when the Dells area first started luring tourists to this enchanting spot.

This American Indian presence was another draw for tourists to the Wisconsin Dells in addition to the spectacular scenery.

This made quite an impression on me and my brothers when we were kids seeing this for the first time.

The feathered headdresses of the Indian Chiefs were most impressive to us!

Playing Cowboys and Indians was a regular pass-time back then for kids of my generation.

Naturally there is much in the way of Indian jewelry and other handicrafts which can be purchased by tourists to take home and wear or use for décor.

From the early days to the last time we visited the Wisconsin Dells, the stores had become more commercialized offering many things that could be found anywhere as so often happens with unique places when they become "discovered" and more popular.

Some of this is good and some is bad depending upon one's perspective.

What remains despite the growth of the area and myriad of newer the indoor and outdoor water parks, golf courses, resorts, etc., is the sheer beauty of the river and environs as well as the part played by Indians through the ages.

Wisconsin Dells

Close-up of moss growing in the Wisconsin Dells.
Close-up of moss growing in the Wisconsin Dells. | Source
Wisconsin Dells
Wisconsin Dells | Source

Wisconsin Dells image

Scenery at the Wisconsin Dells looking up from the boat tour.
Scenery at the Wisconsin Dells looking up from the boat tour. | Source

Wisconsin Dells: Part 2 - Natural Attractions!

Wisconsin Dells History

While this area was discovered by the white man back in the sixteen hundreds, it was not until the early eighteen hundreds that white men started homesteading and trading in furs and engaging in lumbering which accounted for a greater degree of settlement in the Wisconsin Dells and surrounding territory of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin River made the transfer of goods easier so that farmers, saloon keepers, hotel owners and others could have easier access to needed supplies just as the Indians had used it for transport and trading purposes in the centuries prior.

Wisconsin attained the status of becoming the 30th State in the United States of America in 1848 and many of the names given counties and towns and even lakes all come from Indian names.

As an example, here are a few of the county names in Wisconsin of Indian derivation:

  • Winnebago
  • Kewaunee
  • Sheboygan
  • Chippewa
  • Sauk
  • Manitowoc
  • Waukesha
  • Kenosha
  • Menominee
  • Outagamie
  • Shawano
  • Waupaca
  • Ozaukee
  • Oconto
  • Waushara

Some of the county and town names are the same. Here is an example of some of the other Indian inspired town names in Wisconsin:

  • Fort Winnebago
  • Mukwonago
  • Packwaukee
  • Namakagon
  • Oconomowoc
  • Minocqua
  • Ojibwa
  • Nasewaupee

The town where I grew up as a child was Oconomowoc in the county of Waukesha. How's that for a tongue twister!

The tale I remember being told about the meaning of Oconomowoc as a child was this... An old Indian had been walking for days and finally became exhausted. He sat down and said "I can no more walk." This became Oconomowoc. Whether this tale is truth or fiction, it made for a good story!

The town of Okauchee...where I attended elementary school through 7th grade before moving to the story goes...was derived from a sneeze. Perhaps someone out there knows the real derivation of these words. Until then, the explanations of these names will remain embedded in my mind. Ha!

Fall colors at Wisconsin Dells

Fall colors at Wisconsin Dells
Fall colors at Wisconsin Dells | Source

Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells
Wisconsin Dells | Source

Upper Dells

At one point of the trip one disembarks and walks through glorious wooded and rocky areas graced with ferns, mosses and the wonders of glorious nature.

At times one is also walking along the water and the reflections of things mirrored in the water can be spectacular especially in the Fall of the year when the leaves of trees and shrubs are splashed with colors of reds and yellows.

Witches Gulch where one walks at times through narrow canyon walls is one of the two shore landings if taking this Upper Dells boat trip.

Wisconsin Dells

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Our boat captain securing our landing for one shore excursion.Yours trulyLook at those reflections in the water!
Our boat captain securing our landing for one shore excursion.
Our boat captain securing our landing for one shore excursion. | Source
Yours truly
Yours truly | Source
Look at those reflections in the water!
Look at those reflections in the water! | Source

Stand Rock

Stand Rock - dog jumping performance
Stand Rock - dog jumping performance | Source

Stand Rock

At Stand Rock ( an outcropping of rock appropriately named ) one is entertained by a German Shepherd dog who jumps from one rocky promontory over an abyss of five feet to Stand Rock and back.

This show always draws "oohs and aahs" from the crowd standing below and gazing up at the performance.

I seriously doubt that the sure footed dog ever misses his landing, but if he ever did there is a safety net below which would help to ensure his safety.

Apparently years before, people used to make this jump!

This is the other place where one gets to do a little walking on the Upper Dells boat trip.

Black Hawk

Black Hawk was a great Indian Chief who spent some time in this area. One of the rocks on this Dells boat trip is said to look somewhat like his profile. Can you see it in the photo below?

Wisconsin Dells

Do you see Black Hawk's profile?
Do you see Black Hawk's profile? | Source

Cliff Swallows

If one is touring the Wisconsin Dells during the time of the year when the migratory cliff swallows are building their mud dwellings on the undersides of the many cliffs and feeding their offspring, one will see a flurry of activity. They are congenial birds and gather in large numbers and when the season signals change, suddenly they are gone.

Wisconsin Dells


Wisconsin Dells: Part 1 - Refreshing Fun!

We have enjoyed our visits to the Wisconsin Dells and now with the other attractions, it has become a year round resort area.

These additional videos will show more of what this area has to offer.

The sheer beauty of the natural surroundings in this part of Wisconsin would be my main reason for returning to the Wisconsin Dells.

Of course people living in Wisconsin probably like some of the indoor activities of the Dells in the cold and blustery winters.

Both are good reasons to enjoy the Wisconsin Dells in all seasons of the year.

Wisconsin Dells: Part 7 - A Place for All Seasons!

Have you been or would you consider a trip to see the Wisconsin Dells?

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Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells
Wisconsin Dells | Source

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© 2011 Peggy Woods

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      The Wisconsin Dells have changed radically since you would have seen it as a child and even since I last saw it in the 1970's. The river will always remain the same but the attractions which have been built since then make it a true year round destination for fun and vacations. Amazing! is hot and steamy down here also. I can't imagine people needing sweaters and jackets when the temps are in the 80's. It would have to be a whole lot cooler for me to want to reach for them! Hope you stay cool during the Texas summer temperatures also. Thank heavens for AC!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      I still remember riding on the duck boats in the Dells when I was 7. It seemed like a hot day at the time, but now, living in Texas, I know the difference.

      With the horrid hot days of Texas upon us and likely to get hotter, now would be a great time for people to visit up north and spend a day at Wisconsin Dells.

      Given that several people had to get their sweaters and jackets when a rain storm cooled us down to 80 F., the other day, I guess anyone from here should probably pack their coats and mittens because it isn't likely to exceed 85 degrees up there, and likely will be in the mid to upper 70s. It cools down to 80s here at night. :)

      Hope you're taking it easy and staying cool!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      I have fond memories of visiting the Wisconsin Dells. It is a natural attraction with lots of man made ones which make it fun for everyone! Thanks for the shares.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      This is the perfect time of year to visit the Dells. Not much time left before school starts again. Pinned this to my 'Travel' board again, this time using the photo of Stand Rock. Also sharing with followers and on FB.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi pinto2011,

      So glad you liked seeing the beauty of the Wisconsin Dells. Thanks for your comment.

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