Touring waterfalls in the Mitten State means heading to the Upper Peninsula, where as many as 300 waterfalls roar, rush and tumble across sandstone cliffs and rocky ridges. Many are easily accessed by foot and bicycle, and in the winter by snowmobile. In spring, melting snows create powerful waterfall flows. During summer, the falls are surrounded by lush greenery. Autumn's palette brings fiery oranges and deep reds to the scenery. When winter arrives, frozen falls offer yet another visual perspective on these Upper Peninsula treasures.
Each year 50,000 people visit Tahquamenon Falls State Park, at the eastern end of the Upper Peninsula, to view what is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. Self-guided tours along a half-mile paved path take sightseers to the Upper Falls for views of its 200-feet-wide, 50-foot drop. A stairway down the gorge allows close-up viewing. A quarter-mile boardwalk leads visitors to the Lower Falls, where a series of five small falls rush around an island. Boat rentals allow sightseers to row to the island for viewing. Operating out of Soo Junction, Toonerville Trolley Train and Riverboat Tours provides guided excursions for viewing Tahquamenon Falls.
Black River Byway
Five hours to the west, the 11-mile Black River National Scenic Byway encompasses five impressive waterfalls featuring drops ranging from 25 feet to 40 feet. The byway driving tour begins at Bessemer and ends at Black River Harbor. Short, well-marked trails provide access to these fall beauties, which are all located within 3 miles of the river's end at Lake Superior. Great Conglomerate Falls splits to rush around rock formations. Potawatomi Falls offers barrier-free access. Gorge Falls has a dramatic 34-foot drop. Sandstone Falls is the smallest of the collection while Rainbow Falls is nearest Superior and offers an observation deck along the fall's east side.
An hour northeast of the Black River Byway, the wilds of the Porcupine Mountains area contain a wealth of diverse waterfall formations. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park has 90 waterfalls within its boundaries. A trio of the most easily accessed lie within the park's western section along the final 1-mile stretch of the Presque Isle River, just before it empties into Lake Superior. Manabezho Falls is nearest the parking area and is the highest fall with its 25-foot vertical drop. With its 10-foot drop, Manido Falls is the smallest. The 15-foot tall Nawadaha Falls rushes over a wide stepped rock ridge. Other popular falls within the Porkies are Bond Falls with its 50-foot drop located at Bond Falls State Park and Bonanza Falls along the Iron River 1 mile south of Silver City.
A series of waterfalls rush over the rocky shelves and sandstone cliffs of the Munising Formation at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, 20 miles northeast of Munising. A tour of the Lakeshore and Munising area falls provides opportunity for easy viewing of dramatic formations. Munising Falls, with its 50-foot drop, is located near Munising Memorial Hospital in Munising. Munising Falls is unusually stunning when frozen in winter. Miners Falls, just northeast of Munising off Miners Castle Road, also features a 50-foot drop. Stairs to a lower viewing area provide a close look at the rushing ribboned falls. In all, 17 waterfalls are found throughout the Munising/Alger County area.