Upper Alder Falls, Michigan

Just a short distance upstream from Alder Falls is another smaller drop along Alder Creek. I’m calling it Upper Alder Falls. The waterfall is only about 8′ tall, but it’s a very pretty smaller waterfall in a wildly beautiful area of the Upper Peninsula.

In order to get to the falls, you’ve first got to go down a rather narrow, muddy road, though it’s not too bad. It’s just hard to find. Then, you’ll hike down a surprisingly steep hill. You’ll be hanging on to the trees and branches surrounding you. After seeing Alder Falls, head along the trail upstream. Just above Alder Falls, you’ll have to cross Alder Creek. It’s not as easy as it seems. It was easy going across the creek. I crossed using a log that had fallen across the creek. On the way back, though, the log seemed much slipperier and thinner, which complicated things. Waders might actually be appropriate here.

Directions:

  1. From Marquette, head north on Co. Rd. 515, aka Big Bay Rd. You’ll be heading toward Big Bay.
  2. After heading north for more than 20 miles, you’ll come upon the village of Alder, which is hidden. There is a road on your right, County Road KS, that you will pass.
  3. DIRECTLY after passing that road, there will be a road on your left, the Alder Creek Truck Trail. Turn left here.
  4. The road forks. Take the left fork.
  5. Go for about 0.7 miles down the single-lane dirt road. On your right, you’ll come to a “parking area”, and you’ll notice a trail heading downhill.
  6. Head down the trail and then head upstream of Alder Falls for a short distance. Cross Alder Creek just above Alder Falls.

Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/strenuous)
Height: 8′
Length of Hike: 0.3 miles round-trip

Upper Alder Falls in October 2009

Where in the World is Upper Alder Falls?

Alder Falls, Michigan

It can definitely be an adventure trying to find waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Upper Peninsula is a complicated, interconnected set of roads, many unpaved and often very narrow. This can lead to a lot of confusion, as was the case with Alder Falls. While the directions were entirely correct, there are just so many dirt roads that it was hard to be sure that we were even on the right road, which we had gotten to only after already turning around twice.

But once you get to the falls, you will be pleasantly surprised. As with many other waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula, the walk to the falls is surprisingly short but steep. You have to have very good hiking shoes to go and visit Alder Falls. The beautiful falls, which is larger than I thought, can be viewed from both sides of the river, though viewing from the right side (based on the picture) does require crossing the river. I crossed on a log above the falls and luckily did not get wet.

Directions:

  1. From Marquette, head north on Co. Rd. 515, aka Big Bay Rd. You’ll be heading toward Big Bay.
  2. After heading north for more than 20 miles, you’ll come upon the village of Alder, which is hidden. There is a road on your right, County Road KS, that you will pass.
  3. DIRECTLY after passing that road, there will be a road on your left, the Alder Creek Truck Trail. Turn left here.
  4. The road forks. Take the left fork.
  5. Go for about 0.7 miles down the single-lane dirt road. On your right, you’ll come to a “parking area”, and you’ll notice a trail heading downhill.
  6. Head down the trail and explore for the best view of the falls.

Accessibility: 5/10 (moderate)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 0.3 miles round-trip

Alder Falls in October 2009

Where in the World is Alder Falls?