I was totally and completely surprised to find such amazing waterfalls on the Dead River. The Dead River is in Marquette County, and the waterfalls are only about 3 or 4 miles from downtown Marquette. I found out about Dead River Falls from the book “199 Michigan Waterfalls.” In the book, the authors didn’t seem too enthusiastic about the waterfalls. In later editions, they noted that there were more waterfalls beyond, though they still didn’t seem to enthusiastically recommend visiting them.
When I showed up, I was at first disappointed because the first waterfall you see is nice, but not the most exciting. It’s the second and fourth falls that are the main attractions. When I stumbled on the 2nd falls, the one shown below, I was really taken back. It is a very wide waterfall, and it had a lot of water flowing over in early May. This falls is the easiest of the falls to view up close. I was standing directly in front of the falls on an island in the middle of the river. It was so beautiful! (Falls #1, #3, and #4 are available at these links.)
- From US-41/M-28 in Marquette, you are going to turn at Wright Street near the Target and Taco Bell.
- Drive a short distance to Forestville Road, and take a left.
- Continue driving on that road for about 3 miles. You will curve left at one point and end up at a dam/power plant. (As a note, Reany River Falls is only a few yards from this parking lot.)
- From the parking area, head toward the bathrooms. You will see a trail leading up the side of a hill underneath power lines. Head up that trail.
- There is a sign pointing to the falls. You can follow the sign and it will get you to the first waterfall.
- From there, continue upstream. You will have to climb up a hill, which was moderately steep. It will help to follow the sound of the river. From the top of the hill, you should be able to find the trail leading to the other falls. The trail hugs the river.
When I visited in 2011, access to these falls was closed. After visiting in 2017, I can confirm that the trail has been reopened. I had hoped that maybe the trail had been re-routed to avoid some of the steeper parts of the trail, but that’s not the case. Please exercise caution when visiting these falls.
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Dead River Falls #2?