Reach these U.P. waterfalls on foot in 15 minutes or less
When you are in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, you are never a far drive to 300+ waterfalls. While you can spend upwards of 45 minutes hiking to some from where you park your vehicle, others, such as the ones listed here, are an easy hike of 15 or fewer minutes. Most of these seven falls have improved trails, three trails are wheelchair accessible and a few trails put your boots on the dirt, but you will be glad you followed them.
Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is home to Michigan’s largest waterfall – the Upper Tahquamenon Falls. If you visit the Upper Peninsula, taking short hikes to the Upper and Lower Falls is a must. This state park is in Paradise, but you can also access it from Newberry. Both falls are gorgeous year-round.
The thundering Upper Falls is about 200 feet across, with a nearly 50-foot drop into the Tahquamenon River. The 0.3-mile trail to view the falls is wheelchair accessible and there is also a 0.3-mile nature trail for another easy hike.
You can drive downriver four miles to see the Lower Falls. These five smaller, tranquil waterfalls cascade around a small island. The 0.2-mile trail to view the falls is paved and wheelchair accessible. There is also a 0.4-mile gravel road along the river for more non-wheelchair viewing. Learn more.
Au Train Falls
Au Train Falls on the Au Train River tumble about 40 feet from the top. The lower falls drop 10 feet. Your best time to see them is in the spring after the snow thaws, but even at dry times of the year, you can see some water action. Walking to the upper falls can be slippery, so watch your footing. It’s easier to access the lower falls. Walk from the parking lot, past the gate and down the gravel road. Learn more.
Dead River Falls
Dead River Falls, outside of Marquette, is one of the best adventures on this list. We’ll start by saying, this less-than-one-mile, well-traveled trail is probably the most rugged of the 10 listed here. But if you are comfortable tackling one steep hill, you are going to love seeing this waterfall! The total drop of sudden plunges in this rocky gorge is about 100 feet in total. The well-worn volcanic rock, rock cuts and outcroppings, calm pools and jagged cascades will keep your camera clicking. Learn more.
Bond Falls Scenic Site
Bond Falls Scenic Site is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the U.P. A five-minute walk (or wheelchair ride) on the paved trail and 600-foot boardwalk will take you to one of the six viewing spots. Other trails will take you along the Ontonagon River, where you can hike to the top and see a series of small cascades that lead into the main falls. The 50-foot total drop is beautiful in all four seasons. Learn more.
Eagle River Falls
Eagle River Falls on the Keweenaw Peninsula is one of the easiest to view. As M-26 enters the village of Eagle River, pull into the parking lot on the south side of the highway and walk to the pedestrian bridge. These falls are where the remains of a dam still span over the 60-foot wide river. Water drops 60+-feet over the dam in a straight sheet and forms tendrils that flow over the rocks that form the steep banks. All this beautiful, frothy water rejoins at the bottom of a deep gorge. If you are doing a fall color tour in the U.P., add this to your itinerary. Learn more.
Jacobs Falls is another Keweenaw Peninsula stop, right by the Jampot. This ends our list of short hikes on the sweetest note. Stop at The Jampot, three miles east of Eagle River. Monks make fresh baked goods, preserves, fruitcakes, truffles and various gift packages. Then visit these falls right by the shop. If you are willing to climb, follow the creek up, seeing one drop after another along the steep, grassy gorge. For a less calorie-burning view, there is a footpath on the eastern bank that offers a more distant view. Learn more.