Middle Falls (Falls River), Michigan

This “middle” falls on Falls River in L’Anse may be one of the quirkiest waterfall experiences that I’ve had. First of all, the easiest way to view the falls is by parking at a Burger King (and of course buying food during the stop). As you start hiking toward the river, you may begin to notice that the temperature will start to get progressively warmer. At the riverside, it was noticeably warmer. I believe there is a plant above the river that causes that. It is a very weird feeling, to say the least.

I’m not sure the trail is “beautiful.” There are houses above the riverside, some distance away. It even seemed like people used the area for recreation/partying? It also didn’t smell particularly great! I have also seen a few descriptions of it as one of the most beautiful rivers in Michigan, but I don’t really agree with that. So why visit? Because it’s really easy to visit!

Directions:

  1. Head north on US-41 to L’Anse/Baraga.
  2. As you enter L’Anse, keep on US-41 until you approach the Burger King.
  3. Park at the Burger King. (There is another entrance, but the other has signs indicating no trespassing.)
  4. Head toward the river/bridge. Near the bridge, there is a trail heading north. Follow the trail to the falls, including Middle Falls and Lower Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 0.3 miles round-trip

Middle Falls in May 2009

Where in the World is Middle Falls?

Middle Falls of the Pigeon River, Minnesota/Ontario

The Pigeon River forms a portion of the border between Minnesota and Ontario. On the Minnesota side, you can visit Grand Portage State Park. The most popular (understandably) waterfall in Grand Portage State Park is the High Falls of the Pigeon River, which are very impressive. They are also easy to visit!

There are a number of other waterfalls on the Pigeon River, though, that don’t get nearly as much attention. If on the Minnesota side, it’s again understandable. One of the falls, Partridge Falls, is not necessarily easy to access because of rough road. Middle Falls, where there seems to be two different portions, can be accessed from the park entrance, though it requires a 2.5 mile hike one-way. This hike is by no means on flat ground, and it is steep at points, though by no means terrible. There is no simple boardwalk to the falls, though! Once you get there, you may be slightly disappointed, since High Falls is so much taller and more impressive. I would say the solitude you will experience at the Middle Falls would be a positive, but it was pretty quiet at the High Falls when I visited in mid-May.

As a side note, if you go to the Ontario side of the river, you will likely have a much easier time visiting these falls. From the Minnesota side, you can actually see the road that hugs the river, leading almost directly to the falls. So if you don’t want a workout, I would suggest that.

Directions (from Minnesota)

  1. Head north on MN-61 from Grand Portage to the entrance of Grand Portage State Park. You’ll see the border gate as you’re turning in.
  2. From the parking area, start along the trail toward High Falls. You should be heading west.
  3. Instead of heading toward High Falls, continue along the Middle Falls Trail. It is at least 1.6 miles one-way. Near the end of the trail, the trail splits (and creates a circle). The left fork in the trail leads you to the falls quicker, and I would even return from that direction. The right fork, adds a longer distance, and didn’t hold any interest for me.

Directions (from Ontario)

  1. On ON-61, find Route 593. Head west on Route 593, where after about 1 mile (maybe even less), you’ll pass a parking area on your LEFT. It’s really the only parking area, so turn in. If you’re unsure, there’s a sign in the parking area to indicate your near the falls.
  2. Walk along the old road upstream to the falls.

Accessibility: 3/10 (moderate/difficult, from Minnesota), 9/10 (easy, from Ontario)
Height: 15′
Hike: 5.0 mile hike round-trip (in Minnesota), 0.5 miles round-trip (in Ontario)

Middle Falls in May 2010 (from the Minnesota side)

Update: Alright, so I had a chance to visit Middle Falls when I was in the Thunder Bay area in late April 2012, and I can tell you, that for the most part, it is much easier to visit the Ontario side of the falls. The only difficulty is a minor one…There is no large sign indicating that you’re passing the parking area for the falls. I ended up passing the parking area, and turned around because I felt I had gone too far. I was correct in my hunch, as the parking area I saw was for the much shorter hike to the falls. On the Minnesota side, it’s a 3+ mile hike one-way…In Ontario, it’s about a 1/4 of a mile.  I also feel the views are somewhat better on the Ontario side.  For a while, I wasn’t even sure I was looking at the same waterfall.

Middle Falls in April 2012 (from the Ontario side)

 

Where in the World is Lower Middle Falls?

Wee Water Willy, New York

Wee Water Willy in May 2009

Wee Water Willy is a fun, little waterfall in Letchworth State Park. It’s actually taller than it appears. It starts above the path, which is at the top of the picture here. It then falls a considerable distance down into the Genesee River below. I’m not sure I’d visit it as the main attraction, but it is literally feet from Middle Falls in the park, if I remember correctly. There are a number of other small falls that can be viewed in the park if you show up at the right time, which is spring and possibly early summer. Some of them are even dry in spring.

Directions:

  1. I can’t remember which entrance we entered from, but those of off NY-39 are the best choices.
  2. When you enter the park, there will be signs leading to different areas. Find the signs leading to Middle and Upper Falls. I believe you will be heading south as you head toward these falls.
  3. The parking area for the falls is very near the southern entrance to the park. You will know you are in the right place when you see a functioning inn.
  4. From the parking area, you’ll have no difficulty finding Middle Falls. Wee Water Willy is right nearby.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 117′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Wee Water Willy?

Middle Falls (Genesee River), New York

Middle Falls on the Genesee River is a rather popular name. One of the falls is in Rochester, while the other is in Letchworth State Park. This post refers to the larger, more interesting Middle Falls in Letchworth State Park. Middle Falls is a rather grand falls. It’s pretty wide, relatively tall, and really loud! As part of Letchworth State Park, it also has many other waterfalls nearby. Upper Falls is a few hundred yards away.

The waterfall can be viewed up close from the parking area for High and Middle Falls. It can also be viewed from Inspiration Point, if I remember correctly. At that point, you can visit Inspiration Falls, which I was not able to photograph due to the angle. At that viewpoint, you will be able to see both Middle Falls and Upper Falls simultaneously, which is very cool. You may also be able to view Deh-ga-yah-soh Falls to your right, though it might be easier to miss this falls with two much larger falls in your view. Lower Falls is further downstream.

Directions:

  1. I can’t remember which entrance we entered from, but those of off NY-39 are the best choices.
  2. When you enter the park, there will be signs leading to different areas. Find the signs leading to Middle and Upper Falls. I believe you will be heading south as you head toward these falls.
  3. The parking area for the falls is very near the southern entrance to the park. You will know you are in the right place when you see a functioning inn.
  4. From the parking area, you’ll have no difficulty finding Middle Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 107′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Middle Falls on the Genesee River in May 2009

Where in the World is Middle Falls?