Hear the Water Roar…and Whisper
The U.P. is home to all but one of Michigan’s waterfalls. There are 300+ waterfalls scattered across the U.P., ranging in size from under 5 feet to 48+ feet vertical drops. Almost all require hiking to reach, but there are paths (several barrier-free) to some of the most popular. The best time to see them is in spring when even the smallest falls roar to life. They are also beautiful in winter and, if you’re up to the challenge, try ice climbing (Munising and Miners Falls are favorite columns of ice to scale).
Spring’s Eight Must-See Roaring Waterfalls
With hundreds of waterfalls to choose from in the Upper Peninsula, these eight are particularly stunning in mid-to-late April and early May when melting snow and ice, rainstorms and increased groundwater make them roar with gusto.
Bridalveil Falls - Munising. This 140-foot cascade resembles a lace wedding veil as it spills over the iconic, color-dappled rocks into Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
MNA Memorial Falls - Munising. Go during or right after a spring rainstorm for prime viewing of this beautiful 40-foot waterfall. It’s fed from two Alger County streams, one of which relies heavily on these storms to stay flowing.
Spray Falls - Munising. This very remote, yet impressive waterfall (also located along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore) has a seasonal companion that makes an appearance during the spring. You can access it from the North Country Scenic Trail but it is best seen from the water. An added point of interest: there is an 1856 shipwreck “Superior” in 20 feet of water at the base of the falls.
Haven Falls - Lac La Belle. Located in a small roadside park on the Keweenaw Peninsula, this 20-foot waterfall is easy to see from the road. The park is perfect for a quick break and a beautiful view.
Manganese Falls - Copper Harbor. This steep cascade, located in Copper Harbor, has worked its way into a narrow gorge and can be hard to see due to the surrounding trees. Climbing along the well-established footpaths (being careful of slippery or falling rocks), courageous adventurers may be able to get a better view.
Laughing Whitefish Falls - Chatham. Named after the Laughing Whitefish River, this 100+-foot waterfall cascades down stepped limestone rock. A wooden stairway along the edge of the falls allows visitors to view the falls from a variety of overlooks.
Mishicot Falls - Norway. As the largest waterfall on the Menominee River’s Piers Gorge, this 8-foot drop straddles the Wisconsin-Michigan border. The site is known by kayakers and rafters for its swift and powerful Class IV “whitewater” rapids that provide their wildest adventures in the springtime.
Upper Tahquamenon Falls - Newberry. As the largest waterfall in Michigan — the river spans 200 feet at the falls and drops about 40 feet — this powerhouse is mighty to behold in the springtime (and all-year-round!).