Jumbo Falls, Michigan

I visited Jumbo Falls relatively near the beginning of my waterfall searches. This little waterfall is maybe not nearly as exciting after seeing many other falls, but I still find it to be interesting nonetheless. It’s just so simple, and yet that makes it enjoyable. It also has more water flowing over it than waterfalls 80 times its size! So don’t let height fool you.

I also remember the area around the falls being very beautiful. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is relatively cool throughout the year, and even in mid-August, the temperatures were very pleasant. The forest around the falls was at peak beauty, with green everywhere. It was just an enjoyable time.

Directions:

  1. Getting to the falls might be the hardest part, though it’s still relatively easy. On M-28 past Kenton (which I don’t really remember noticing), a short distance later you’ll come to Golden Glow Road.
  2. If you’re headed west on M-28, you’ll turn left onto Golden Glow Road. Head south.
  3. After a few miles, you’ll come to an intersection. Turn left at the intersection. Don’t go onto the forest service road.
  4. From there, head east along the road for a ways to a parking area for the falls. It doesn’t seem like it’s for the falls. When I visited, it had a sign about fishing, but you’re in the right area. Wander around, and follow the Jumbo River to the falls. You’ll probably hear them if you’re in the right spot. It’s only a short distance from that parking area to the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 6′
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip

Jumbo Falls in August 2008

Where in the World is Jumbo Falls?

West Branch Sturgeon Falls #1, Michigan

First off, apparently this set of waterfalls may have slightly different names. I thought it was the set of Lower Hogger Falls, but it also could be called West Branch Sturgeon Falls. There are four of them on the West Branch Sturgeon River, and none of them are particularly tall.  During the fall, when the colors are changing, they are beautiful.

When we showed up to find Hogger Falls, which is also on the same river just upstream, we ended up finding these 4 falls instead. Just a few days earlier, it had rained considerably, which meant that the falls were flowing well. The tannins in the water provided a beautiful golden color to the water, which only adds to the scenic nature of the area. This particular waterfall might be the largest of the four falls, but it is also the most difficult to photograph, as there isn’t really a good place to stand to view the falls. That may be different if the water in the river is lower.

Directions:

  1. We took MI-38 west out of Baraga and headed for a ways on M-38.
  2. After traveling west on M-38, you will come to Newberry Road, which will be on your left.
  3. Turn left onto Newberry Road and head 3 miles south on the dirt road.
  4. After about 3 miles, you’ll come to a “road” on your left. If you go any further, you’ll end up at the West Branch Sturgeon River, where the bridge is out. If you turn around and head north, I guess it’s the first “road” on your right.
  5. We had to stop at that road because it was blocked by a gate, and I’m not necessarily sure I would head down that road anyway.
  6. From the gate, start hiking east down the road. Keep going until it appear that the road “ends”. It seemed to be blocked by a pile of dirt and trees, though there was a trail that wrapped around to the right.
  7. Follow that trail to the right, which heads to the river. Depending on where you end up, you’ll likely see a waterfall. The first waterfall we saw was not easily visible. I then headed back west following the river very closely. This is the third fall we saw along the river. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are numerous more that just can’t be seen very easily. You’re often considerably high above the river!

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 6′
Length of Hike: 2.2 miles round-trip

West Branch Sturgeon Falls #1 in October 2010

Where in the World is West Branch Sturgeon Falls #1?

 

West Branch Sturgeon Falls #4, Michigan

First, I’ll mention you can find out more about the waterfalls on the West Branch Sturgeon River in my previous post, West Branch Sturgeon Falls #3. The lower set of Hogger Falls are not mentioned that frequently, most likely because they’re rather small and other larger falls are not too distant. Even so, they’re very pretty.

Let me say, though, that I’m not sure that I would be able to find the “4th” lower falls again. The first three were found by random chance after at least following what looked like a trail. After the first three falls, though, we really started wandering. The terrain around the West Branch of the Sturgeon is not exactly even, and so after climbing up and down hills and around trees, we stumbled upon the 4th falls. I distinctly remember climbing/sliding down a steeper slope to get a better view of this falls, only to find out there was a lot of vegetation near the river, making that a more difficult task than expected. It was an adventure, to say the least.

Directions:

  1. We took MI-38 west out of Baraga and headed for a ways on M-38.
  2. After traveling west on M-38, you will come to Newberry Road, which will be on your left.
  3. Turn left onto Newberry Road and head 3 miles south on the dirt road.
  4. After about 3 miles, you’ll come to a “road” on your left. If you go any further, you’ll end up at the West Branch Sturgeon River, where the bridge is out. If you turn around and head north, I guess it’s the first “road” on your right.
  5. We had to stop at that road because it was blocked by a gate, and I’m not necessarily sure I would head down that road anyway.
  6. From the gate, start hiking east down the road. Keep going until it appear that the road “ends”. It seemed to be blocked by a pile of dirt and trees, though there was a trail that wrapped around to the right.
  7. Follow that trail to the right, which heads to the river. Depending on where you end up, you’ll likely see a waterfall. The first waterfall we saw was not easily visible. I then headed back west following the river very closely. This is the fourth fall upstream that was “easily” visible, though this became more difficult to see than the first three.

Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/strenuous)
Height: 3′
Length of Hike: 2.4 miles round-trip

West Branch Sturgeon Falls #4 in October 2010

Where in the World is West Branch Sturgeon Falls #4?

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?

West Branch Sturgeon Falls #3, Michigan

On my trip to the western Upper Peninsula last weekend to enjoy the fall colors, I decided to take a detour to see Hogger Falls. Once finding what seemed to be the right area to head to the falls, we started on our journey. Well, I’m not sure that we ever found our original goal, Hogger Falls. The trail turnoff that supposedly led to the falls wasn’t very apparent. I did find a side trail early on that didn’t seem to lead to anything except a really random tree that had been clearly cut down into a weird shape.

I felt that we had walked too far to see Hogger Falls, but I had read that there were three smaller falls further down the trail. The book that I was using suggested that you drive down the road that follows the West Branch Sturgeon River, but the road was blocked by a gate. Which was probably a good thing, since the road was very uneven and full of water from recent rains. We found the trail that led to the lower falls. None of the falls are particularly large, but they were pretty nonetheless.  The third falls that we saw upstream was only about 3 feet tall. Since there was a considerable rainfall in the past few weeks, there was likely more water than normal.

Directions:

  1. We took MI-38 west out of Baraga and headed for a ways on M-38.
  2. After traveling west on M-38, you will come to Newberry Rd., which will be on your left.
  3. Turn left onto Newberry Rd. and head 3 miles south on the dirt road.
  4. After about 3 miles, you’ll come to a “road” on your left. If you go any further, you’ll end up at the West Branch Sturgeon River, where the bridge is out. If you turn around and head north, I guess it’s the first “road” on your right.
  5. We had to stop at that road because it was blocked by a gate, and I’m not necessarily sure I would head down that road anyway.
  6. From the gate, start hiking east down the road. Keep going until it appear that the road “ends”. It seemed to be blocked by a pile of dirt and trees, though there was a trail that wrapped around to the right.
  7. Follow that trail to the right, which heads to the river. Depending on where you end up, you’ll likely see a waterfall. The first waterfall we saw was not easily visible. I then headed back west following the river very closely. This is the third fall we saw along the river. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are numerous more that just can’t be seen very easily. You’re often considerably high above the river!

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 3′
Length of Hike: 2.4 miles round-trip

West Branch Sturgeon Falls #3 

Where in the World is West Branch Sturgeon Falls #3?

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?

Middle Hungarian Falls #2, Michigan

I’m not sure how much I have to say about the 2nd “middle” Hungarian Falls. The lower, upper, and 1st middle falls are considerably more interesting in terms of size and/or shape. The second middle falls is not that tall, maybe 7 feet. It’s still a very pretty waterfall, and if you’re hiking from the lower to upper falls, you’ll end up seeing it anyway.

Directions:

  1. You’ll be driving along M-26 toward Hubell, MI.
  2. In the outskirts of Hubell (if there can be outskirts in such a small town), turn onto Sixth Street.
  3. Sixth Street will dead end, but to the left is a dirt road named Golf Course Road. Take the road to the left.
  4. You will go up a hill, and the road will flatten out a little bit.
  5. Here’s the confusing part…As you’re driving on Golf Course Road, you will pass a number of dirt roads on the left. I got confused by the directions I was following and ended up turning onto the first road ON THE LEFT after a pile of rubble and a gate. The connection to the road was not even, so go slowly!
  6. From there, I headed down that road to the end, where there is a turn-around. Park here.
  7. From here, you will connect onto the trail to your right. Where I parked, if I walked straight instead of to the right, I hit what looked like the remains of an old bridge…
  8. From this trail, you will end up passing the Lower Falls first. Then you will come to the first Middle Hungarian Falls. All of the falls can be viewed from this trail, some better than others.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: 7′
Length of Hike: 0.8 miles round-trip

The Second Middle Hungarian Falls in May 2009

Where in the World is Middle Hungarian Falls #2?

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?

Little Tioga Falls, Michigan

The small drop on the Tioga River

The “Little” Tioga Falls (also referred to as Tioga Park Falls) are not very spectacular at all. There isn’t a very large drop on the falls, it’s not even remotely wide, so I just don’t know why there is such “importance” given to this waterfall. Let me clarify that…This drop on the Tioga River can be accessed from a rest area off of US-41/M-28 in Baraga County west of Michigamme. When you stop at the rest area, there is actually a sign that indicates the direction to the falls. The trail to the falls is actually very pretty, though also very short. I was actually more excited by all of the wildflowers along the way. The river is actually very calming too. There is another “drop” just a few hundred feet downstream, but at certain times during the year, that “cascade” isn’t even noticeable.

Directions:

  1. Driving along US-41/M-28 west of Michigamme, if you’re driving west, there will be a rest area on your left some miles past Michigamme.
  2. Pull off at the rest area, where if you wander around, you will find the sign indicating the direction to the falls. Explore the area for all of the cool wildflowers.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 3′
Length of Hike: 0.4 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Little Tioga Falls?

Sable Falls, Michigan

I’ve visited Sable Falls three times in the past five years, and it always seems to surprise me. The pictures of Sable Falls can never do it justice. I think it might have to do with the fact that it has multiple drops that lead to a sort of optical illusion.  Each drop is rather large but it definitely doesn’t look like that!

The very short hike to the waterfall seems to have changed since my first visit in 2005, though maybe I just don’t remember it that well. During my first visit, I seem to remember that you could walk up very close to the falls without any difficulty. In 2008, many stairs had been built and viewpoints had been installed. At the end of the viewpoint at the base, it now is “blocked” off from leaving the approved trail, though I can tell that people still do find a way.

While there are many waterfalls in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Sable Falls is essentially off by its lonely self. On the western side of the park (near Munising), there are a multitude of falls within a 10 or 15 mile radius. Sable Falls is really the only major fall in its general vicinity. If you’re in the area, check out Grand Marais and the Grand Sable Dunes, as you won’t find many other waterfalls in the area.

Directions:

  1. From M-28, head north on M-77 until you enter the village of Grand Marais.
  2. At the intersection of M-77 and County Road H-58, turn left and head west on H-58.
  3. After just 2 miles or so, you’ll come to the parking area for Sable Falls, which is clearly marked. If you drive a short distance further, you’ll come to the East Visitor’s Center.
  4. At the Sable Falls parking area, follow the signs to the falls.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy, there are stairs)
Height: 25′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip

Sable Falls in May 2008

Where in the World is Sable Falls?