Although there are hundreds of spectacular waterfalls in Michigan, did you know the state’s scenic Upper Peninsula is home to all but one of them? Ranging in size from under 5 to 50 feet vertical drops, the waterfalls in the U.P. are divine sites often nestled among nature and trees. While some of the falls require hiking or a short walk to reach, some of the most luscious are located on Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and accessible by boat. When planning a trip to the state, make sure to add the best waterfalls of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to your list of things to do for an adventure you’ll never forget.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is home to the magical Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls – arguably the most popular in the state. Nicknamed “The Root Beer Falls” due to the unique, copper color of the water, the Upper Falls is one the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. It’s more than 200 feet across with a drop of approximately 50 feet. More than 50,000 gallons of water per second have been recorded surging over these beautiful falls. Four miles downstream you’ll find the Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island. With camping, birding, hiking, dining and other options available in the park, this waterfall is a must stop destination.
As the water cascades 140-feet into the waters and rocks of Lake Superior, the Bridalveil Falls of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore are one of the highest in Michigan. The ledges surrounding it make it difficult to see from a hike, so viewing it from a cruise during Spring or Fall is the best way to get the full experience.
Bond Falls is a gorgeous waterfall in southern Ontonagon County and one of the most popular in the U.P. The total drop of the falls is around 50 feet. There’s parking and picnic tables available near the top of the falls, along with an accessible boardwalk with six viewing locations.
While Munising is a gateway community to the majestic Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, the little city is also surrounded by 20 exquisite waterfalls, with several located in the Pictured Rocks park. A quick trek on a paved trail up a serene canyon leads to a creek at the base of Munising Falls. There are two sets of stairs that lead to platforms for additional views of the 50-foot waterfall as it drops over a sandstone cliff. Since this waterfall completely freezes over during the cold U.P. winters, many visit for some spectacular ice climbing.
One of the most impressive waterfalls in Michigan is also one of the most remote. Luckily, if you’re not up for a hike, the Spray Fall cruise offers an awe-inspiring view of the water dramatically plunging roughly 70 feet over the multi-colored cliffs of Pictured Rocks into Lake Superior.
If viewed from the water during a sunset, the waterfall will catch its rays and glimmer a dazzling red and orange. Luckily, there’s a boat tour for that, too. For some tranquil and gorgeous views, try the Sunset Spray Falls Cruise.
Considered to be one of the most picturesque in Michigan, Agate Falls cascades over shelves of erosion-resistant sandstone as if the water is rushing down steps.
Just down the road from this waterfall is the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – the largest state park in Michigan and home to an array of wildlife, recreational opportunities, and nearly 100 waterfalls. Not to mention a pristine mountain range and deep beautiful forests.
Located at the eastern end of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Sable Falls tumbles 75 feet over a cascading slope of unique sandstone formations into Lake Superior. Although the trail from the parking area to the falls is a short one, the best viewing is from the bottom of a long staircase consisting of 168 steps.
Yellow Dog River Falls
With a vertical drop of 30 feet and approximately 50-feet-wide, Marquette County’s Yellow Dog Falls along the Yellow Dog River is another waterfall to chase. Although gorgeous year-round, the falls are particularly beautiful on a sunny, fall afternoon.
The fast-flowing Miners River drops nearly 50 feet over a sandstone outcrop, creating Miners Falls – the most powerful waterfall in the Pictured Rocks park. The 1.2-mile round-trip hike is a popular one and great way to see some of the most treasured areas in the park due to the falls’ close proximity to Miners Beach and Miners Castle.
Don’t miss out on these stunning waterfalls. Plan your trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula today!
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