Dead River Falls #5, Michigan

I first visited the waterfalls on the Dead River in 2009. At the time, I was rather surprised. The book I had made it seem like the waterfalls were not particularly interesting. Instead, I found (at least) four wonderful waterfalls (Dead River Falls #1, #2, #3, and #4). After reaching the 4th waterfall, I tried to see if there was any clear path to continue along the river, but for some reason decided there wasn’t. I could see one more rather small drop in the distance, but couldn’t figure out how to get closer.

I went back in 2011, and found the trail to be closed due to upgrades of some sort, so I wasn’t able to explore the falls again. I hadn’t visited the Upper Peninsula much after that, so decided that this year would be the time to visit the falls again. The trail to the falls was reopened a few years ago.

I had hoped that they had solved some of the issues that exist with the trail, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Most of the trail is relatively safe, but there are one or two areas where it could be rather dangerous. At one point early in the hike, you have to follow the trail parallel to the river, and the trail is narrow and gets very close to a 15-20′ drop. One wrong step, and you could fall very near the river. I erred on the side of caution and tried to hike further up. A friend of mine almost slipped on the way back.

All of it is honestly worth it, though. This time, the trail to the fifth waterfall (also known as Stony Mills Falls) was much clearer. After reaching the fourth falls, it was a relatively easy hike near the riverbank to get to the fifth waterfall. I was surprised to find another moderately sized waterfall along the river, though I really didn’t know what to expect! There is a way to get close to the falls, but I decided against climbing further uphill. I was content with the view that I had from the rocks in the river.

Directions:

  1. From US-41/M-28 in Marquette, you are going to turn at Wright Street near the Target and Taco Bell.
  2. Drive a short distance to Forestville Road, and take a left.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. There is a sign pointing to the falls. You can follow the sign and it will get you to the first waterfall.
  6. 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.

Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/strenuous)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 1.6 miles round-trip

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Dead River Falls #5 (Stony Mill Falls) in early August 2017

Where in the World is Dead River Falls #5 (Stony Mill Falls)?

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Dead River Falls #3, Michigan

It’s crazy to think that I visited the Dead River waterfalls just under 8 years ago. When I first started actively looking for waterfalls, I found many of them in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I almost skipped out on the Dead River Falls because they didn’t sound particularly exciting. But luckily I decided to go for it, and don’t regret it one bit. These falls are more impressive than I expected.

As I mentioned before in posts for Dead River Falls #1#2, and #4, these falls have a bit of danger associated with them (more so than some falls). To get to falls 2 through 4 (with others even further along the trail), the trail leads you very close to the river, and it’s a rather precarious trail. The river was clearly flowing well, and one misstep could have been problematic, to say the least. That being said, if you’re careful, you’ll be rewarded with views of these beautiful falls. It just so happens the third fall here is the least scenic of the bunch, with the second and fourth falls being very impressive.

Directions:

  1. From US-41/M-28 in Marquette, you are going to turn at Wright Street near the Target and Taco Bell.
  2. Drive a short distance to Forestville Road, and take a left.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. There is a sign pointing to the falls. You can follow the sign and it will get you to the first waterfall.
  6. 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.

Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/strenuous)
Height: ~6′
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip

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Dead River Falls #3 in May 2009

Where in the World is Dead River Falls #3?

Dead River Falls #4, Michigan

There are some waterfalls that I’ve visited where I’ve had high expectations, and it’s not that I’m terribly disappointed, but not I’m not always sure what the attraction is. On the other hand, there are other waterfalls where my expectations are very low, and I am overwhelmed when I finally see the waterfall. There are two very impressive waterfalls on the Dead River right near Marquette.

I wasn’t expecting much because of the description I read in the book about Michigan waterfalls. I hadn’t seen any pictures, so I really didn’t know what to expect. The first waterfall is not that exciting, but wow, the 2nd waterfall is truly amazing. I wasn’t sure whether to keep walking along, but I did. The 3rd waterfall is small, but I decided to keep going. There was one turn along the trail where I suddenly realized that the 4th waterfall was going to be spectacular. It was early May, and the amount of snow melt created a great surprise. The waterfall is maybe 30′ tall or so, but the amount of water flowing over the falls was amazing. This group of waterfalls isn’t advertised that much, so you’ll likely be alone.

Also, I should mention, if I haven’t already, that the trail leading to the falls, while not terribly dangerous, would be best described as precarious at a few specific points. At one point, you’ll be hugging the dirt trail that is only feet from a river that is flowing VERY fast, at least in May. If you’re not careful, you’ll be carried away by the very swift current. As long as you’re paying close attention, I think you’ll be ok.

Directions:

  1. From US-41/M-28 in Marquette, you are going to turn at Wright Street near the Target and Taco Bell.
  2. Drive a short distance to Forestville Road, and take a left.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. There is a sign pointing to the falls. You can follow the sign and it will get you to the first waterfall.
  6. 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.

Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/strenuous)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 1.1 miles round-trip

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Dead River Falls #4 in May 2009

Where in the World is Dead River Falls #4?

Tourist Park Falls, Michigan

A few years ago, you wouldn’t have been able to see Tourist Park Falls. A dam existed at the place where the waterfall is now found, and the dam is no longer there. I guess it collapsed, and the waterfall that was present before the dam was built was again unleashed.

The waterfall that is now there, is a very calming waterfall, though not that large. It’s extremely easy to access though, which is a definite plus. It is found on the outskirts of Marquette near Northern Michigan University.

Update: The dam has been rebuilt, so you won’t be seeing much of Tourist Park Falls.

Directions (to Tourist Park):

  1. From Marquette, head toward Co. Rd. 550 (aka Hawley St. in Marquette), which can be accessed from 4th Street.
  2. As you turn onto Co. Rd. 550 you’ll drive across a bridge over the Dead River. The waterfall used to be located right here.

Accessibility: 10/10
Height: 10′
Length of Hike: not applicable

Tourist Park Falls in October 2009

Where in the World is Tourist Park?

Dead River Falls #1, Michigan

I’ve already posted about Dead River Falls #2, so this is a check that post out to read more about the second falls. The first waterfall, at least the first major one you’ll happen upon, is pretty. #2 and #4 on the river are even better, though. You’ll still end up passing falls #1, so enjoy the scenery. (Falls #3 isn’t as exciting.)

While I say the others are cooler, I still was pleasantly surprised by the first falls. I had read about the falls elsewhere, and the people seemed less than enthusiastic about the falls. From certain viewpoints, the view is not that great. From other vantage points, it’s much better. Follow the directions I’ve given here to see the better viewpoint, where you’re much closer to the falls.

Directions:

  1. From US-41/M-28 in Marquette, you are going to turn at Wright Street near the Target and Taco Bell.
  2. Drive a short distance to Forestville Road, and take a left.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. There is a sign pointing to the falls. You can follow the sign and it will get you to the first waterfall.
  6. 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.

Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/strenuous)
Height: ~6′
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip (you could see this one without going to the other falls)

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Dead River Falls #1 in May 2009

Where in the World is Dead River Falls #1?

Dead River Falls #2, Michigan

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.)

Directions:

  1. From US-41/M-28 in Marquette, you are going to turn at Wright Street near the Target and Taco Bell.
  2. Drive a short distance to Forestville Road, and take a left.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. There is a sign pointing to the falls. You can follow the sign and it will get you to the first waterfall.
  6. 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.

Accessibility: 4/10
Height: ~15′
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip

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Dead River Falls #2 in May 2009

Where in the World is Dead River Falls #2?