Whitefish Falls, Michigan

I live in Michigan, and I honestly enjoy living here. So every once in a while I get a teensy bit annoyed when I hear people suggest that Michigan’s waterfalls can’t be amazing because there isn’t a significant elevation change. There are some really great waterfalls in Michigan. Just search to find examples! And then, on the opposite extreme, Michiganders (and maybe other vertically challenged states) have a tendency to advertise waterfalls that aren’t really amazing, and probably wouldn’t even register in other states. Whitefish Falls is an example of Michiganders being just a bit too excited, though I’ve seen smaller than this being called a waterfall of importance.

Whitefish Falls is found in Alger County, which has some really great waterfalls, along with some very scenic waterfalls. Whitefish Falls just can’t compete. I had visited other falls, such as Laughing Whitefish Falls and Miner Falls, in the same time period, so this seemed mild in comparison. It would be a great place to wade and enjoy a nice summer day, but it’s not a waterfall that I would go out of my way to visit (at least after visiting it)! There are just so many other waterfalls that are far more worth your time. (If I remember, there were campgrounds right near the falls, so it could be an enjoyable place to set up a tent, without being as crowded.)

Directions:

  1. There is a stretch of US-41 that runs N/S between Rapid River (which is north of Escanaba) and Marquette. This is found in between M-67 and M-94.
  2. If you head north from the intersection of US-41 and M-67, you’ll pass Utah Road on your right.
  3. Shortly after this, you should see Diffin Road, followed by River Road, both of which will be on your left.
  4. Turn left onto River Road. If you miss the turn, turn left onto River Road. (River Road forms a loop off of US-41, so if you miss one opportunity, take the next opportunity.)
  5. Park at one of the camp areas, and then head slightly northwest toward the river. It really isn’t that difficult to find.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy, I don’t think there was a direct path to the falls, but it’s a very short hike.)
Height: 10′ (total drops)
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip

Whitefish Falls in July 2008

Where in the World is Whitefish Falls?

Laughing Whitefish Falls, Michigan

The uppermost portion of Laughing Whitefish Falls in July 2008

Laughing Whitefish Falls is one of the taller waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I’m a really bad judge of heights, but from other sources, it is about 100′ tall. That would definitely put it as the first or second tallest in the state. There are two parts to the falls, an initial, but short, vertical drop, followed by the much longer slide down. If this waterfall were in Pennsylvania or New York, it would have been surely called Buttermilk Falls, since this is one of the few waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula to have that “consistency.” Here in the Upper Peninsula, though, we have the interestingly named Laughing Whitefish Falls.

While not as widely known as Bond Falls or Tahquamenon Falls, it is still an impressive falls…impressive enough that it has its own scenic site set aside by the state. The hike to the falls is very enjoyable, though the drive down the dirt road to the parking area is pretty insane. I can’t recall many other dirt roads that have been more covered in potholes and deep grooves. I was actually concerned for my car. It’s a short way, though. Just go very slow!

After hiking to the falls, you will notice you are standing at the crest of the falls. You can take the numerous stairs down to the base of the falls, though the viewing platform could prevent you from further exploring the falls. Some people were slipping through the platform to get a better view.

Directions:

  1. From Munising, drive west on M-94 for a considerable way.
  2. Turn north onto Dorsey Road and drive 2.8 miles to the end of the road, which will be the parking area for Laughing Whitefish Falls.
  3. After parking, head down the relatively flat trail to the falls.

Accessibility: 8/10 (to crest), 7/10 (down the stairs)
Height: 100′
Length of Hike: 1 mile round-trip

The falls in August 2010

Where in the World is Laughing Whitefish Falls?