Cato Falls

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

Upper Cato Falls

The falls are surrounded by private land several hundred meters downstream from the bridge on Upper Falls Road. They are not visible from anyplace on the road.

Looking upstream
Looking downstream. What appear to be outcrops are visible on the far side of the bend.
A closer view of the "outcrop" shows it to be a stone wall.
North side of the stream, looking east from the bridge, showing a stream terrace.
Real outcrops occur just downstream around the bend. These are on the north side of the stream.
A small cave in the outcrop.
There is some slight folding in the rock layers. Here a small anticline pokes out of the water.
By the standards of Victoria, Niagara, or Yosemite Falls, Upper Cato Falls is not much to look at. In fact, by the standards of Lower Cato Falls, Upper Cato Falls is not much to look at.
Easiest access to the falls is from north of the bridge via Clarks Mills Road and Sportsmans Lane. From the Cato Sportsman's Club at the end of the lane, there is a short walk to the stream. Ledges crop out on the south bank.
There is a deep undercut along the base of the ledges.
Left and below: at the upstream edge of the ledges, layers dip about 15 degrees north

Lower Cato Falls

Lower Cato Falls is a Manitowoc County Park. The falls and outcrops are reached by a fairly steep climb down a flight of stairs. Views of the river and outcrops are below.
Left and below: the main fall drops a meter or so. The bedrock is Silurian dolomite.
Potholes worn in the dolomite.

Below: outcrops downstream from the falls

Left and below: looking downstream from the falls.
Below: the falls in winter.

The Gorge

On either side of the river are steep banks. Evidently the river cut through a moraine before incising into the bedrock. This is a view north of the river. In the map above the moraine ridge is colored yellow.
A view of the south bank. Note the wide flat terrace at the base.
One of the staircases.
Boulders in the till overlying the dolomite.

Autumn Foliage at Cato Falls County Park

One group decided the foliage would make a nice backdrop for wedding photos

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Created 3 May 2002, Last Update 12 Jan 2020