Wright Street Falls, Michigan

I am visiting Marquette, Michigan right now, and have visited a number of times before. I forgot my Michigan waterfall book at home, so did a quick search, and found out there was an easy-to-visit waterfall right on the outskirts of Marquette. I decided to check it out today.

The waterfall, creatively named Wright Street Falls is right off of…wait for it…Wright Street. I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to find, and it ended up being very easy to find. Parking was more abundant than I expected, and the few tips I found online led me to the falls pretty quickly. It’s not a particularly tall waterfall, but it is actually wide. There is something that carries water right in front of the falls, so at first it may seem like you might not be able to get a great view, but you can get a better view. The directions I found suggested following the right side of the river, but I found that the left side of the river had better views of the falls.

Directions:

  1. Wright Street starts off of US-41 right after a Target, but you can get to the parking area by turning on Wright Street at any point.
  2. If you start on US-41, turn right onto Wright Street after the Target. The website I found suggested the parking area was 1.5 miles from the Target. If you follow this step, the parking area will be to your left. It is a surprisingly large dirt parking area. There is a yellow sign there, and if you look to your left, you will see a bridge crossing a river. Pedestrians and bikers are allowed on the bridge. There is another parking area that seems to follow the same description a few hundred feet further east, and you could park there also, but it would require a longer hike to the falls. If you’ve reached the Marquette Board of Power and Light, you’ve passed the parking area, so you should turn around and head back.
  3. Once you reach the parking area, there are two options. You can cross the bridge, and then veer left. There is a clear path that crosses under a large pipe that is carrying water, and you’ll end up on the right side of the falls. I found that viewpoint wasn’t as great, though still got most of the falls. Instead of crossing the bridge, there is a trail to the left of the river that heads downhill. It is a bit steep, but once you’ve conquered that, the rest of the trail on the left side is pretty level. The trail on the left side of the river leads to a more complete view of the falls.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy, for right side of the river), 8/10 (easy/moderate, for the left side of the river)
Height: 9′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Wright Street Falls (46)

Wright Street Falls in July 2019

Where in the World is Wright Street Falls?

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

DSC_0817

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

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

Black River Falls, Michigan

Black River Falls in June 2006

There’s only one other waterfall I can remember visiting before Black River Falls, so it’s not the first, but it’s pretty darn close. (Tahquamenon Falls wins that distinction.) I’m guessing this is the waterfall that set everything in motion, though. I had visited the Upper Peninsula of Michigan a few times because of a college friend, and had started exploring the area. She had mentioned that there was this waterfall nearby, and I joined along for the ride. Who knew I’d be approaching 700+ waterfalls eight years later.

Compared to other waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula, Black River Falls isn’t even wildly impressive. It’s a nice waterfall, though it might not be much in the depths of summer. In early June, you’re still likely to be find water flowing at many waterfalls, since it hasn’t been that long since the snow melt! It does take a bit of effort to get to the base, as I remember stubbing my toe on a rock (hard enough that it clearly bruised). If you’re in the Marquette/Ishpeming area, I might go and check this out. Otherwise, this requires some drive out into the quiet areas outside of town, so I wouldn’t go out of my way for just this falls. (Luckily, the Upper Peninsula has no lack of waterfalls, so you’re probably in close proximity to another one.)

Directions:

  1. From Ishpeming, head south on County Road 571 (or PI Road).
  2. At the intersection with County Road 581 (aka Saginaw Street), turn right onto County Road 581 (heading west/southwest).  Go about 8 miles after taking this turn.
  3. On your right, you’ll see signs indicating “Island Lake Club” and “Falls.” Turn right here.
  4. Go about 0.6 miles to a fork in the road. Take the right fork.
  5. Drive for another 0.3 miles on County Road CCP. You should see a sign that says “Falls.” Turn at that sign and go to the end, where you’ll find a parking area.
  6. Head right to the river, where you should hear the falls, even from the parking area.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Black River Falls?

Big Garlic Falls, Michigan

Big Garlic Falls (could also be Upper Garlic Falls) is not a large waterfall, but it’s still a pretty waterfall nonetheless. Now getting to the Big Garlic River is not that difficult, but I’m not sure that I would be able to find this specific waterfall again in a quick and timely fashion. I think it would be more appropriate to say we “stumbled” upon it, with some guided help.

There are supposed to be at least 5 noticeable drops on the Big Garlic River, but this is the only impressive one that we saw. We did visit a set of rapids further upstream, which weren’t very memorable except for the very clear scent of garlic in the area. We then drove back toward the main road, and stopped where it seemed “appropriate”, and found the falls mentioned here. Otherwise, I really am not sure if there are clear directions except to just explore the area once you get there…

Directions:

  1. When in Marquette, turn left onto Sugarloaf Avenue, which will become County Road 550. Head northwest on that road for about 12.5 miles. You will know you’re on the right road if you pass the parking area for Sugarloaf Mountain (which you can hike up or climb the stairs for a great view of Marquette and Lake Superior).
  2. After 12.5 miles, you’ll drive over the bridge crossing the Big Garlic River. Continue for 1.2 more miles.
  3. Turn left onto Gold Mine Rd. and head about 2.8 miles down the dirt road.
  4. I think (it’s a little fuzzy) that we parked on the side of the road there (or off on the side) and then walked toward the Big Garlic River, and from there found these falls. The book we used suggested the other falls were just downstream, but we couldn’t see any “easy” way to go and visit them, so we just skipped them.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Big Garlic Falls in October 2009

Where in the World is Big Garlic Falls?

Morgan Falls, Michigan

It seems appropriately timed to talk about Morgan Falls. I visited Morgan Falls in early October 2009. My friend and I were hoping to see brilliant fall colors in the Upper Peninsula, but the colors really hadn’t significantly changed yet. There were a few reds, yellows, and oranges that showed up in the pictures, but many of the trees were still green.

Getting to Morgan Falls isn’t too bad, though it does require some travels down a dirt road. The dirt road parallels the Carp River. The dirt road wasn’t too bad, especially compared to others I’ve been on. Once you get to the parking area, which really isn’t advertised, you’ll have to head downhill for a short distance. It’s moderately steep, but manageable. Once you get to Morgan Creek, there are two different ways to view the falls. One “viewpoint”, which is more easily accessed, views it side-on from the right. This view had a beautiful tree turning yellow, but you don’t get a complete view of the falls.

The other view requires you to cross Morgan Creek. If you look around, you will notice there is a wide log that has been placed over the creek. It was raining when we visited, so the log did look rather slippery, but we were both able to cross the log without accident! Once you get to left side of the creek, you’ll have to wander around to find the more head-on viewpoint. Morgan Creek and the Carp River merge right near where Morgan Falls is found, so you’ll notice a little “island” where people camp, even in October.

After initially crossing Morgan Creek, you can apparently hike to Carp River Falls also. It’s upstream from the merger point, about 1/2 mile from Morgan Falls. We didn’t have any luck finding the falls, but I also get the sense we may not have walked far enough. If you’re in the area, it’s probably worthwhile to check out both falls.

Directions:

  1. In Marquette, you’re going to want to find Division Street. Turn left on Division Street and head south out of Marquette. Division Street will turn into CR-553 after a ways.
  2. Just before you reach the Marquette Mountain Ski Resort, there will be a dirt road on your right. If you reach the parking area for the resort, you’ve gone too far. On Google Maps, the dirt road appears as Marquette Mt Road.
  3. Turn right on Marquette Mt Road, and head 1.4 miles to a parking area, which will be on your left. You’ll know you’re at the right area if you see a trail heading down to the stream below. There was more than enough room to turn around.
  4. After parking, decide which view you want to get. If you want to see the falls head-on, cross the Morgan River.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip

Morgan Falls in October 2009

Where in the World is Morgan Falls?

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?

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

dead-4

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?

Reany River Falls, Michigan

There’s something wildly beautiful about Reany River Falls. I don’t know how to describe it. At the same time, Reany River Falls also seems very calming. It is very easy to access the falls, and also very easy to explore the falls, which allows you to enjoy the falls up close.

This is partly because Reany River is not a tall waterfall, so there isn’t a whole lot of elevation change going on here. That doesn’t mean the waterfall isn’t interesting or pretty, though. It’s actually one of the more complex waterfalls I’ve seen. Reany River Falls would be better described as a series of multiple drops that combine to create beautiful scenery. The river is very winding, so it’s essentially impossible to get the whole falls in the picture. A part of the falls is actually under the bridge, effectively hidden from view. Seeing that part of the falls better requires some exploring.

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. Right before you reach the parking area, you will have crossed over a bridge. This bridge crosses the Reany River, where the falls are.
  4. Park in the parking area and backtrack to the falls. This parking area will also lead you to the series of 5 Dead River Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 9′
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip

Reany River Falls in May 2009

Where in the World is Reany River 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?