Lower Gooseberry Falls, Minnesota

One portion of Lower Falls in May 2010

Lower Falls is the furthest downstream of the large drops on the Gooseberry River. I saw pictures to suggest there might be smaller falls further downstream, which would not surprise me. The river drops numerous times along its journey to Lake Superior.

Lower Falls has two different parts that could even be considered two different falls separated by rock. The photo here shows what I believe is the right side, though I might be wrong about that. Other pictures show different viewpoints. Whatever viewpoint this is at, the falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park are really great and VERY easily accessible.

Directions:

  1. From MN-61, turn into the entrance for Gooseberry Falls State Park.
  2. Head to the parking area for the visitor’s center, where you will be able to easily access the falls. There does not appear to be a fee to enter this park.
  3. Follow the trail down to the first group of falls, which includes Lower Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 40′
Length of Hike: 1 mile round-trip

Where in the World is Lower Gooseberry Falls?

Devil’s Kettle, Minnesota

The Devil’s Kettle in May 2010

The Devil’s Kettle is probably one of the most widely known waterfalls in Minnesota. It gets much of its popularity due to a piece of the waterfall plunging into the unknown. There is a hole in the rock where the water goes, and I guess nobody seems to be able to figure out where the water ends up.

I have to admit that while the concept is cool, the actual execution isn’t nearly as exciting. When you visit the falls, you can’t really tell that the water is disappearing anywhere. It’s just not that apparent. To me, it would almost be cooler if the water reappeared somewhere, anywhere. The waterfall is still enjoyable, I can’t deny that, but you can’t really get that close to get a better view of the Devil’s Kettle. I found the waterfall downstream, Upper Falls, to be much more intimate.

Directions:

  1. From MN-61 along the North Shore, you’ll be looking for Judge C.R. Magney State Park.
  2. Once you find the state park, you’ll turn left (if you’re heading north) into an entrance that winds a short ways to a parking area for the falls.
  3. From there, there’s about a mile hike one-way to the two falls.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderately steep in a few sections and a lot of stairs near the end)
Height: 25′
Length of Hike: 2 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Devil’s Kettle?

The Cascades, Minnesota

The Cascades in May 2010

The North Shore of Minnesota has a nice variety of waterfall settings. Some of these waterfalls require longer hikes, whereas others are very accessible. Obviously, those that are more accessible are the most frequently visited. Gooseberry Falls, a very nice set of falls, is probably one of the most popular. The falls on the Split Rock River are probably the least traversed. The falls on the Cascade River fit somewhere in the middle.

The Cascades refers to a group of falls that can be viewed from a specific vantage point along the Cascade River. These falls are upstream from Cascade Falls. At least three falls can be seen from the bridge over the river. The first falls is just thirty or forty feet from the bridge, and is very pretty. The second and third falls are pretty evenly spaced, and are a few hundred feet upstream. It may be rather difficult to get a great view of the second and third falls up close, but I really didn’t explore that very much. I wanted to see The Cascades, but didn’t plan on spending a considerable amount of time there. There were other falls I planned on visiting. There are other falls beginning a mile or so upstream, at least that is what is shown on the map.

Directions:

  1. The parking area for The Cascades and Cascade River State Park are found off of MN-61 a few miles south of Grand Marais. The parking area is on the left side of the road if you are driving north.
  2. After finding the parking area for the falls, you can head upstream on either side of the river, but I started on the south side. That seems to provide better views of the falls.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: 0.4 miles round-trip

Where in the World is The Cascades?

High Falls of the Baptism River, Minnesota

High Falls of the Baptism River (3)

High Falls of the Baptism River (August 2015)

The High Falls of the Baptism River is a definite must see for North Shore waterfalls. It’s a truly powerful waterfall that is accessed by a beautiful hike. I hadn’t planned on visiting this waterfall until later, but since I was passing Tettegouche State Park, I decided to check out the falls. I had already walked some distance, and my feet were hurting after changing to a new pair of shoes.

At first, I was slightly confused about where to access the falls. I was using the book “Waterfalls of Minnesota’s North Shore”, and the book is rather useful, but I think that in the last year or so, some changes must have been made to the way to access the falls? I would check out the website for directions, but essentially you should enter the rest area for Tettegouche State Park and drive past the visitor’s center (and pay the fee if you haven’t). You’ll drive under the M-61 bridge and you should just keep heading down this newly-paved road to the end of the road, where you’ll see a sign for the trail center. This is where you start your short journey.

After visiting the beautiful falls, you can continue on to Two Step Falls from either side of High Falls. I would suggest following the path that is on the south side of the river. You can cross the Baptism River and go see the falls on the north side of the river, but the only way to get back to the parking lot after visiting those falls is to retrace your steps, which is why I would just go on the south side. I ended up not visiting Two Step Falls because it was getting late. (I did get a chance to visit Two Step Falls in August 2015.)

Directions:

  1. From M-61, enter the rest area for Tettegouche State Park. Head past the visitor’s center and drive down to the end of the road to the trail center. Consult the visitor’s center if you want better directions. It’s not that hard to access.
  2. Follow the signs to High Falls.

Accessibility: 5/10 (moderate, consistent up-and-down)
Height: 70′
Length of Hike: 1.4 miles round-trip

High Falls of the Baptism River (May 2010)

Where in the World is High Falls of the Baptism River?

Rainbow Falls, Michigan

Rainbow Falls in August 2011

As I may have mentioned before, the Black River has one of the best groups of waterfalls to be found in Michigan. If I had to recommend just one group of waterfalls to view in Michigan, I would suggest going and seeing these 5 waterfalls. Sometimes waterfalls on the same river can have a tendency to look very similar. The Black River does not fall into that category. The five major waterfalls are extremely distinct and unique, at least compared to the others on the same river.

Rainbow Falls is one of my favorites, though it is hard to explain why. There are few other waterfalls that I have seen that have the same “drop” pattern found at Rainbow Falls. Instead of just a simple vertical drop or even a cascade, the water jettisons from the crest of the falls, which is very narrow. The water then crashes into a rock wall, takes an actual 90 degree turn, and falls into a cavernous region below. The actual view is extremely hard to explain in words. After the water pools, there is another drop, and possibly more hidden below.

The other four waterfalls are most easily accessed from their designated parking areas, but NOT Rainbow Falls. There is a parking area for Rainbow Falls, but if you follow this designated trail, it leads to one of the most unspectacular views of a waterfall I could ever imagine. At first, I was extremely disappointed, as I had just walked some distance only to have a waterfall almost completely blocked from my view.

There are two ways to remedy this situation:

  1. The river, which at some points is a hundred or more feet wide, narrows down to about three feet wide. I actually jumped over the river, which was not as easy as it sounds, since the water is moving so quickly. One poor step, and you could be pulled in.
  2. After doing this, I learned of a more sane way to get to the much, much better viewpoint. Instead of starting from the Rainbow Falls parking area, start at the Black River Harbor parking area. I guess you can cross a footbridge over the river there, and take the trail on the east side of the river instead. It might be a 3/4 to 1 mile hike one-way, but that may be the same distance hiking the other trail.

Either way, both options lead to the much better viewpoint, which is where I took the photo. It might be better to arrive earlier in the day, as I was there later in the day when the sun was almost directly behind the falls, complicating attempts to take pictures. By that point, any picture would do, since for a period of time, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to see the falls at all.

Directions:

  1. From US-2, turn north onto Gogebic County Road 513.
  2. Head north on CR-513 for about 15 miles to the end of the road to the parking area for the Black River Harbor.
  3. From here, you should be able to cross the river, and access the trail on the east side of the river, as described above.

Accessibility: 7/10 (from west side of river)
Height: 45′
Length of Hike: 0.4 miles or 1.5 miles round-trip

The falls in August 2008

Where in the World is Rainbow 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?

Superior Falls, Michigan/Wisconsin

Superior Falls in August 2008

I don’t have many favorites. Each waterfalls is unique, and so I often find it hard to classify waterfalls, or other things in general, as favorites. But Superior Falls is definitely one of my favorite waterfalls.

I don’t know if it’s the location or the scenery, but this waterfall is just so intriguing to me. It is found on the Montreal River, which is natural border between Michigan and Wisconsin. The waterfall is viewed from the Michigan side, though it is best accessed by traveling through Wisconsin. It is aptly named, considering that is just hundreds of yards away from Lake Superior. Once you get to the viewing area, you are greeted by a rather tall waterfall. The view is just great, especially considering that most waterfalls don’t look spectacular from above…but this one does. It could be cliffs surrounding the falls that just add even more character and charm.

You can explore the area around the falls, and there are two or three smaller drops upstream that can be viewed close-up. The area around the falls is EXTREMELY steep, but somebody used some logic and put up tall metal fencing that allows for much safer access to the upper areas of the falls. There are signs still indicating you need to be careful, especially in case of the unexpected flash flood.

Update: When I initially visited in August 2008, the waterfall was at relatively low flow, which allowed visitors to see the underlying bedrock.  I then visited Superior Falls on September 26, 2010.  This was after what was a CONSIDERABLE amount of rainfall in the western Upper Peninsula, which led to a considerably different view, as seen below…

Superior Falls in September 2010

Directions:

  1. Though the best view of the falls is in Michigan, the easiest way to the falls is through Wisconsin. You will be driving along US-2 in Wisconsin, and you will come to WI-122.
  2. Turn north onto WI-122. Keep driving on this road.
  3. At some point, you will enter Michigan, which I believe is clearly marked with a smaller sign.
  4. After about 1/2 mile from the border, there will be a gravel road on your left leading to a power plant and parking lot. You are allowed to park here.
  5. Follow the roar of the water to the falls, or head down the steep hill to get a better view of Lake Superior. If you walk to the mouth of the Montreal River and look inward, you can actually glimpse the bottom portion of the falls.

Accessibility: 8/10 (for the simplest viewpoint)
Height: 70′
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Superior Falls?

Scott Falls, Michigan

Scott Falls is a small falls. Scott Falls is a fun falls. The waterfall is so easy to get to, as it is right off of M-28. You can pull your car off the road, and you’re essentially twenty feet away, at most. The waterfall is easily missed though, if you’re not paying attention, as it is at an angle to the road.

When I visited in May 2009, there was a lot of water at the falls, and I did have to jump over a ditch full of water to get a closer view. I got wet, and the water was not particularly warm, as it was snow melt. In later months, that ditch dries up, and there isn’t as much water on the falls, though it is a perennial falls. You can get extremely close to the falls, and I even think you can walk underneath it. It’s just a really fun falls to visit.

Directions:

  1. As you’re driving along M-28, you’ll end up seeing the falls.
  2. If you start in Munising, the falls is about 8 miles outside of the city. You’ll travel west to get to the falls.
  3. There is a roadside park right across from the falls, named for H.J. Rathfoot. There is also a sign next to the falls, though as I mentioned it is only visible from one side. Also check out the roadside park, as you are only yards away from Lake Superior.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 12′
Length of Hike: Roadside

Scott Falls in May 2009

Scott Falls in October 2009

Where in the World is Scott Falls?

Jacobs Falls, Michigan

Jacobs Falls’ redeeming quality is that is so easy to visit! Jacobs Falls is a pretty waterfall not too far from Lake Superior in the Keweenaw Peninsula. You’ll pass by the falls as you’re driving along M-26 past Eagle Harbor. While you’re in the area, check out the beautiful, scenic shoreline.

The waterfall has two drops, the upper one not visible in the picture below. There is a very unstable “trail” that leads up to the upper drop and beyond, though it was very slippery. It is doable with the right shoes, though.

Directions:

  1. Drive along M-26 north past Eagle Harbor.
  2. About 3-4 miles past Eagle Harbor, on your right (if you’re driving north), you’ll see Jacob’s Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: roadside

Jacobs Falls in May 2009

Where in the World is Jacobs Falls?

Silver River Falls, Michigan

There are multiple Silver Rivers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This is the Silver River in Keweenaw County. Silver River Falls is a very pleasant waterfall not too distant from the western shore of Lake Superior on the Keweenaw Peninsula. It is also very easy to find and visit, so check it out it, even if it’s not the most spectacular of waterfalls.

Silver River Falls has two or three drops with small segments of rapids in between. The falls is only about 15 ft or so.

Directions:

  1. Silver River Falls can be found directly off of M-26 on the stretch between Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor, about 4 miles east of Eagle Harbor.
  2. If you are coming from Eagle Harbor, the parking/picnic area near the falls will be on your right. Pull into the parking area, cross the road, and follow the trail to the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip

Silver River Falls in May 2009

Where in the World is Silver River Falls?