Waterfall beauty on Michigan's Upper Peninsula | Midwest Living

Waterfall beauty on Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Dozens of waterfalls dot Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering scenic rewards for hikers and walkers – especially in autumn.
  • UP's natural treasures

    Michigan's Upper Peninsula is home to almost 200 major named falls, plus countless smaller, anonymous ones. With its concentration of tumbling rivers that flow into Lake Superior, the western corner of the UP (east of Ironwood along Michigan's border with Wisconsin) offers the most waterfalls in the most compact area. Sixty-five significant falls punctuate Ontonagon and Gogebic counties alone. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park claims dozens of waterfalls, including a spectacular series easily accessible along the half-mile boardwalk of the Presque Isle River Scenic Area.

    While spring brings the most abundant water, autumn can be the most scenic season to explore, as cooler temperatures invite you to hike through rainbow-colored forests. 

    Click ahead for some photo inspirations for your visit, and get more details at the Upper Peninsula website below. Pictured: Waterfall along the Presque Isle River in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

    Upper Peninsula Travel and Recreation Association Waterfall Guide 

  • Bond Falls

    Bond Falls on the middle branch of the Ontonagon River ranks with the most photogenic attractions of the UP.

  • Bond Falls closeup

    Fall colors reflect in a closeup of Bond Falls.

  • Black River Falls

    A few miles west of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, the Black River National Forest Scenic Byway runs almost parallel to the Presque Isle River, with five major falls each a short hike from a roadside parking lot.

  • Black River hiking

    Along the Black River near Gorge Falls, the water rushes through woods colored by autumn hues.

  • Cascade Falls reflections

    Golden light reflects off the water at Cascade Falls.

  • Hike to Cascade Falls

    Two trails lead to Cascade Falls on the west branch of the Ontonagon River. The Valley Trail is shorter and more convenient, while the Bluff Trail demands a more exhilarating climb for the serious hiker. A panorama of the wooded valley below justifies the exertion, allowing you to see for miles.

  • Close-up beauty

    Fall leaves catch the sunlight on a log in the Ontanagon River.

  • Autumn path

    Red leaves and yellow scatter along a hiking trail in Gogebic County, Michigan.

  • Mandido Falls

    The rapids of Mandido Falls are one of the highlights of falls along the Presque Isle River in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

  • Pebbles and leaves

    A red leaf floats above a bed of pebbles near Bonanza Falls on the Big Iron River.

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