Bond Falls Scenic Site in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Ready to see the picturesque views and hear the therapeutic sounds of roaring waterfalls? If you want to visit one of the most scenic waterfalls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, add Bond Falls to your travel itinerary. Located in the western U.P. in southern Ontonagon County near Paulding, Bond Falls is a great trip in itself, but can be a solid addition if you’re headed to the Porcupine Mountains or Copper Harbor. Stunning views and easy access make it one of the most popular waterfalls to visit in the U.P. as well as one of the most photographed. Here’s some helpful information for planning your trip to Bond Falls Scenic Site!
Bond Falls facts
The falls are created as the middle branch of the Ontonagon river tumbles over a thick belt of fractured rock, dividing it into numerous small cascades. This impressive waterfall is 100 feet wide with a total drop of about 50 feet. It’s beautiful during any season, especially in the fall when the surrounding forest is interspersed with bursts of color. It is irresistibly dazzling!
Where is Bond Falls?
To get to the falls, take Bond Falls Road 3 miles from US-45 to Scenic Overlook Drive, and follow signs to the main parking lot. The base of Bond Falls is a short, five-minute walk from there. Follow the paved trail to the 600-foot boardwalk to one of the six viewing locations. The boardwalk and main viewing deck are wheelchair accessible, making Bond Falls an ideal destination for any visitor. Pets on a leash are also welcome. A picnic area with grills, picnic tables and vault toilets is located at the trailhead.
Free roadside parking is also available near the Bond Falls Outpost on Bond Falls Rd., however, this access point is not wheelchair friendly. It’s located at the top of the falls and you’ll need to follow the trail and take the steps down to the base of the falls to reach the viewing deck. Near the outpost you will notice the hydroelectric dam. Although Bond Falls is a natural waterfall, the dam operated by the Upper Peninsula Power Company helps maintain the steady flow. Above the dam is the Bond Falls Flowage which is a popular spot for trout fishing.
Things to do at Bond Falls
Bond Falls Flowage Campground
Located above the dam that maintains the flow of these falls is Bond Falls Flowage Campground. It’s a utility owned recreation area with 26 first-come, first-served campsites. Good news — camping is free here! Just find an open site that doesn’t yet have a permit on it, set up camp, and visit the park office. If no one is there, sign your name on the clipboard with the site number, and a park manager will bring you a permit. The campground is open June 1 to Sept. 15. Stays are limited to 14 days.
Bond Falls fishing
Pack your tacklebox! Right by the campground, above the dam, you’ll find a popular spot for Trout fishing in the Bond Falls Flowage. Other anglers have had luck catching Bluegill, Muskie, Northern Pike, Rock Bass, Walleye and Yellow Perch in the area.
Hiking trails at the falls
Get even closer to the falls! Hike the Bond Falls Loop along either side of the river and climb to the top to see a series of small cascades that lead into the main falls. The loop is just 1 mile and easy for beginners. You can also explore other trails that run through the woods nearby.
The park hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, but since it is such a popular attraction it’s best to visit early in the morning to avoid crowds. The main parking lot is closed during the winter months so you will need to use the free roadside parking on Bond Falls Road if you visit then. Bond Falls is a Michigan State Park that requires a Michigan recreation passport. Don’t have one? A self-registration station is located at the entrance if you need to purchase one.
Drive times from other popular U.P. destinations
Plan ahead and add more U.P. fun to your trip! Here’s how close you are to other popular attractions.
- Porcupine Mountains: 1 hour
- Copper Harbor: 2 hours
- Marquette: 1.5 hours
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: 2.5 hours
- Kitch-iti-kipi: 3 hours
- Tahquamenon Falls: 4 hours
- Mackinac Bridge: 4 hours
- Agate Falls: 20 minutes (downstream 5 miles)