Spray Falls, Michigan

Spray Falls plunging into Lake Superior (August 2010)

I’ve been wanting to visit Spray Falls for a considerable amount of time, and I’ve been finally able to add it to the list of waterfalls I’ve seen. I’ve visited the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore about seven or eight times by now, and I’ve always put off visiting Spray Falls.

I’ve read stories that made it sound like it was a terrifying journey to view the falls from the trail. I thought to myself, “I shouldn’t go alone just in case something bad happens.” Other descriptions also made it seem like there weren’t so great views of the falls from the trail, and that the only real way to get a great view was from the Pictured Rocks cruise. Well, that’s a bunch of bull.

The hike to the falls is not short, though.  It is rather long. I think the book I have says about 3 miles one-way, but I would hazard to say that it is longer than that. There is a lot of curving as you hug the shoreline. There are some steep parts, but they’re not all that bad. It’s just a long hike, but well worth it!!! You get to be rewarded with the view of a waterfall plunging into Lake Superior. And by the way, it is MUCH more interesting than Bridal Veil Falls, which people seem to have an obsession with when showing pictures that represent the Pictured Rocks. Spray Falls is NOT seasonal, which makes it much more worth it to hike to see the falls.

Directions:

  1. From Munising, head east on H-58 for 20 miles or so.
  2. You’ll pass the center of Melstrand on your way, and then you’ll come to the road leading to Little Beaver Lake. Take a left onto that road, and head down that road for about 3 miles.
  3. On your left there will be a parking area for the trail head.  Park here.
  4. Start your journey at the trail head. It can be a little confusing at first. You’ll be starting on the White Pine Trail, which is not very clearly marked. You’ll see a bunch of numbered signs, though, that indicate you’re following the right trail. There is another “fake” trail that looks like it might lead somewhere, but it doesn’t.
  5. After about 0.5 miles, you’ll see a sign pointing toward Lake Superior and Beaver Lake. Head toward Lake Superior. It will wind around for a ways.
  6. After a while, you’ll be at Lake Superior. Look for the sign that points toward Chapel Beach. You want to follow this trail, which will be to your left. You’ll follow this trial for however long, passing by a number of a campground sites. FINALLY, after much effort, you’ll come to the sign indicating Spray Falls which leads to the “outlook”. It’s a cliff edge, though it wasn’t really that scary, and that’s coming from someone who’s not a fan of heights. Then return the way you came or head on to Chapel Beach, another 2 miles further.

Accessibility: 3/10 (hiking), 10/10 (cruise)
Height: 70′
Length of Hike: 6 miles round-trip

Wide view of Spray Falls and the Pictured Rocks

The view of the falls from the Pictured Rocks Cruise

Where in the World is Spray Falls?

Chapel Falls, Michigan

Chapel Falls is another example of a great waterfall to be found in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, one of my favorite places to visit. I’ve visited this area at least once every year, if not more than that.

The trail heading to the falls is absolutely beautiful. I hiked it in July, and even then it was amazing. I can only imagine how pretty it must be in late May and early June when all of the wildflowers are in bloom. As you’re hiking along, you may hear a trickle along the way, which may be another waterfall hidden away from sight. You’ll know when you reach Chapel Falls, as this waterfall is almost impossible to miss. I believe it is taller than it first appears. The only problem is that the viewpoints are somewhat prohibitive. There are two or three different viewpoints, two being before you cross the Chapel River, with the other being found after crossing the Chapel River. The one after crossing reveals that the falls are much more extensive than first would be expected.

Directions:

  1. From Munising, head east on H-58. Head about 16-17 miles on H-58 going east.
  2. You’ll pass through a town called Melstrand. A mile or two after that, you’ll come upon a sign indicating the entrance to the Chapel Area of the Pictured Rocks.
  3. You’ll turn left on that road, Chapel Road.
  4. You’ll head five or six miles down Chapel Road. Stay on Chapel Road, which is not paved for much of the way.
  5. Chapel Road will end at the parking area that leads to Mosquito Falls, Chapel Falls, Chapel Beach Falls, and Chapel Rock.
  6. The trail head furthest to the right leads to Chapel Falls, Chapel Beach Falls, and Chapel Beach. The first major stop on that trail is Chapel Falls.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 80′
Length of Hike: 2.6 miles round-trip

Chapel Falls in July 2008

Where in the World is Chapel Falls?

Chapel Beach Falls, Michigan

I would say that this waterfall is hidden in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, but that’s not entirely correct. I’m sure many people have seen Chapel Beach Falls as they finish their hike to Chapel Beach. Chapel Beach Falls is not listed on the list of falls in the park, though they have been reported online. I’m not sure why, as it’s a very pretty waterfall.

I love how this waterfall is essentially flowing into Lake Superior. It adds a certain amount of beauty to the falls. While you’re hiking to the falls, you’ll also pass Chapel Rock, a very interesting rock formation. You’ll also see great views of the Pictured Rocks as the rocks jut out of Lake Superior. The only reason this area is not visited more is likely that it is a 3+ mile hike to the beach. Along the way, you’ll also see Chapel Falls, the much larger waterfall also found on the Chapel River. (You can also spot Chapel Beach Falls from the Pictured Rocks cruise.)

Directions:

  1. From Munising, head east on H-58. Head about 16-17 miles on H-58 going east.
  2. You’ll pass through a town called Melstrand. A mile or two after that, you’ll come upon a sign indicating the entrance to the Chapel Area of the Pictured Rocks.
  3. You’ll turn left on that road, Chapel Road.
  4. You’ll head five or six miles down Chapel Road. Stay on Chapel Road, which is not paved for much of the way.
  5. Chapel Road will end at the parking area that leads to Mosquito Falls, Chapel Falls, Little Chapel Falls, and Chapel Rock.
  6. The trail head furthest to the right leads to Chapel Falls, Chapel Beach Falls, and Chapel Beach. Chapel Beach Falls is found at the end of the 3+ mile hike.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: 10′
Length of Hike: 6 miles round-trip

Chapel Beach Falls in July 2008

Where in the World is Chapel Beach Falls?