As the snow and ice melt each spring and April's rains come down, our rivers and waterfalls surge to life. This is the premier time of year to visit the Upper Peninsula’s 150 named falls (and hundreds of unnamed ones). Wherever you travel in this gorgeous wilderness, you are never far from hearing them whisper and roar. We encourage you to see as many as you can. Here’s why:

 

EXPLORING WATERFALLS INSTILLS WELLNESS

Everything that slowed down in the winter months goes full bore in the spring. Home, work, school, sports and community events yank you in multiple directions. The stress and overstimulation aren’t healthy. You need a break. You need to feel free in the U.P.

Being close to a waterfall is therapeutic. Watching the tumbling, churning water and feeling its spray fill you with awe. Its soothing, cascading sounds and the earthy fragrances of the awakening forest deepen your connection with nature and foster inner peace and well-being. 

Going waterfalling rejuvenates your mind, body and spirit. And no place in Michigan has more waterfalls than right here. 

INCLUDE THESE U.P. WATERFALLS IN SEARCHING FOR YOUR FAVORITE

While it is unlikely that you can visit all 300+ waterfalls during your spring visit, here are some to include in your itinerary. Then, make plans to return to see more in the other three seasons. 

CANYON FALLS - L'ANSE TOWNSHIP

Canyon Falls, along the Sturgeon River, is the "Grand Canyon of the U.P." In the spring, the falls roar with a raging torrent of water, plunging nearly 30 feet over a large chute of smooth black rock into a beautiful box canyon. Follow a picturesque trail along the river and see glimpses of rapids and smaller waterfalls before reaching the major attraction. As the water level recedes in the summer, the gorge unveils its stunning rock formations, characterized by unique square rocks that form sharp ledges.

STURGEON FALLS - PELKIE

The Sturgeon River’s relentless force carved a deep gorge that is the backdrop for the mighty Sturgeon Falls. The frothing water drops about 25 feet over a dramatic basalt chute before tumbling into a deep pool below. Park across from the trailhead, then walk ¾ of a mile, most of it on level ground, until you reach the steep descent into the gorge. Not for the faint of heart, there are no handrails, fences or platforms — just this wild river’s rocks from which to watch the waterfall. But, oh, it is worth seeing!

BOND FALLS - PAULDING

One of the most photographed waterfalls in the U.P. is Bond Falls near the Porcupine Mountains. Spanning an impressive width of 100 feet and dropping approximately 50 feet over a thick belt of fractured rock, its grandeur is mesmerizing to watch.

What sets Bond Falls apart is its accessibility. This state scenic site boasts an accessible boardwalk with six viewing locations as well as parking, toilets, grills and picnic tables nearby. It’s open year-round.

HUNGARIAN FALLS - HUBBELL

Inspire your inner explorer when you hike this 1½-mile trail to the Hungarian Falls in the heart of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Dover Creek packs a powerful punch as it plunges over three waterfalls. From the parking area, follow the access trail to the upper falls. The climb to the viewing area is moderately difficult, but well worth it!  

From this vantage point, watch the upper falls make an impressive 20-foot drop. Then, wander over to the pond hoping to spy wildlife and fish. 
Descend the trail to the middle falls, another beautiful 20-foot drop. Then, go down to the grand finale to gaze at the mesmerizing lower falls tumble 50 feet over a sheer cliff face. Stay awhile and let the sounds of the falling water bring you peace. 

MANABEZHO FALLS - THOMASTON

The Manabezho Falls is in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Its 25-foot drop makes it the Presque Isle River’s largest and most enthralling waterfall. See the powerful falls, bare rock formations and roaring rapids as you follow the trails flanking both sides of the river. Park, walk a short trail and take a few easy stairs to this magnificent sight.

WAGNER FALLS - MUNISING 

Wagner Falls Scenic Site is 1-1/2 miles south of Munising amid tranquil old-growth pine and hemlock trees in the Hiawatha National Forest. This picturesque waterfall is 20 feet tall and is accessible via a short packed gravel trail and boardwalk, a ¼-mile round-trip from the parking area. An observation platform provides a perfect vantage point to admire and photograph the cascading waters in all their splendor. Pets are welcome on leash.

MUNISING FALLS - MUNISING

Munising Falls is the first waterfall you can visit as you enter the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore from Munising. Follow a ¼-mile, fully accessible paved trail along the Munising Creek, spying ferns, wildflowers and an occasional mink. It’s an effortless stroll or wheelchair ride to the cool, shaded sandstone canyon where the falls drop 50 feet over a sandstone cliff. Two sets of stairs take you to additional views. 

While there, stop at the Munising Falls Visitor Center. Its insightful exhibits cover the geological and cultural history of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, including early iron smelting, forest history, rare and endangered species, and logging.

MINERS FALLS - MUNISING TOWNSHIP

Miners Falls is almost 10 minutes northeast of Munising in the western section of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Fed in spring by the fast-flowing Miners River, this spectacular waterfall drops approximately 40 feet over a sandstone outcrop. Park and take the 1-¼-mile self-guided, interpretive trail to the falls. There are 77 steps leading down to the viewing platform and immerse in the awe-inspiring beauty. Take H-58 to Miners Castle Road, then follow the signs to reach the falls.

CARP RIVER FALLS - MARQUETTE

This 30-foot behemoth of roiling water adds to the Carp River’s dramatic, untamed wildness. Reaching the Carp River Falls will test your grit and fulfill your longing for adventure. 

Begin your journey at Morgan Falls, where a rough-hewn bridge leads you across Morgan Creek. From there, a rugged trail follows the Carp River upstream for approximately half a mile. Along the way, catch glimpses of this wild river's whitewater rapids and cascading drops. If you find this part of the trail tough, wait until you make the precarious descent into the gorge. But the reward for this challenging scramble is soul-stirring moments with one of the U.P.’s finest falls. Go for it!

UPPER TAHQUAMENON FALLS - PARADISE

A must-see on the eastern side of the U.P. is the Upper Tahquamenon Falls, the largest waterfall in Michigan. It stretches 200 feet across and is 50 feet high. Known as the “Root Beer Falls,” its rich brown hue and frothy foam resemble the beloved beverage, courtesy of tannins from the cedar swamp. As the snow melt swells the river's flow, the falls become a mesmerizing display of nature's might, with waters thundering at an average rate of 7,000 gallons per second and peaking at a staggering 50,000 gallons per second during the spring melt. 

To reach the Upper Falls, walk from the parking lot to the ⅓-mile, ADA-accessible paved path and boardwalk to the viewing area. For a closer look at the brink, descend 94 steps. From the paved path, you also can take a right at the fork and descend 116 steps to the base of the gorge. A long boardwalk path takes you to a viewing area for the most direct view of the falls.

Visit the Fact Shack near the parking lot to learn about the falls. At the Fact Shack, you can borrow the track chair which lets people with mobility challenges access areas a wheelchair cannot reach. 

PLAN YOUR U.P. WATERFALL QUEST

Whether embarking on a scenic drive or trekking wilderness trails, seeing the U.P.’s waterfalls makes for an unforgettable journey. All the falls are within a day’s trip of lodgings with the amenities and rates you want, plus places to eat and things to do that make exploring the U.P. one of the best vacations ever.   

This spring, take time for some U.P. waterfall therapy. The tranquil break from daily stresses will do you gallons of good.

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SHARE WITH US

We would love to see your spring waterfall photos! Use our hashtag #uptravel for an opportunity to be featured on our social media, website or in our marketing materials. You can also upload your photos to our Waterfall Photo CrowdRiff Collector below.