Peterson Falls, Michigan/Wisconsin

Just outside of Ironwood and Hurley are two waterfalls found within a short distance of each other. The short distance between the two has created a significant amount of confusion about the identity of the falls. Some books have referred to the falls as Interstate Falls, while others called it Peterson Falls, or both at the same time! It ends up that Peterson Falls is the upstream waterfall, while Interstate Falls is downstream.

I’ve visited Peterson Falls twice, and the visits could not have been different. On the first visit August 2008, there was enough water flowing to call it a waterfall, but one could probably rock hop to the Michigan side. You could actually see three separate portions of the falls.

Peterson Falls in August 2008

In September 2010, there had been a significant amount of rain just before visiting. The falls were wildly different. There would have been absolutely no way to rock hop, as the falls were inundated by water. It actually lost a little bit of its character. (I wasn’t even sure where to photograph…)

Peterson Falls in September 2010

It is much easier to visit them from the Wisconsin side, so follow the directions below to ensure you’re standing in Wisconsin! Interstate Falls is to the left on the trails. Peterson Falls is to the right. At one point the trails intersect, but it can be a little bit confusing. Just don’t leave after seeing only one waterfall! They’re very close to each other. And if you’re exerting yourself to see either falls, you’re probably not on the right path. Both falls are very easy to visit.


  1. From Ironwood/Hurley, head west on US-2. You will pass from Michigan into Wisconsin.
  2. After a short distance, you will see Center Drive on your right. If you take a look, you will even notice a white sign for one of the falls.
  3. Turn right onto Center Drive, a dirt road, a head down it. At one point, you will veer right.
  4. There is a dirt pit in the area, so that’s likely how you’ll know you’re in the right area. The road is blocked by a small “rock wall”. From this sandy parking area, head down a well-worn trail to the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: 0.3 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Peterson Falls?


Interstate Falls, Michigan/Wisconsin

First off, there are two waterfalls along the Montreal River just outside of Ironwood/Hurley, and there is confusion about which is named which. They are only about half a mile from each (at the most).

I first saw Peterson Falls about in 2007, but couldn’t figure out how to see Interstate Falls. There is no real sign indicating a path to the falls. Trails actually start at the real estate signs posted on trees, as the area on the Wisconsin side near the falls is currently for sale. (In 2016, the land was gifted to the Northwoods Land Trust, which means the falls are easier to visit now!)

In October 2010, I found the trail to the falls, which can be found as an offshoot of the far more obvious trail to Peterson Falls. Hopefully, signs will now be clearer with the land owned by the Northwoods Land Trust. When I finally arrived at the falls, I was only mildly surprised to find out that there was a huge amount of water flowing over the falls. The western portion of the Upper Peninsula had gotten a LOT of rain, and this meant that some of the rivers had very high volumes, some much higher than even in spring. There were flood warnings on certain rivers. This made it almost impossible to get great pictures because there was an amazing amount of spray. Looking at other pictures of the falls, I’ve never seen this much water flowing.


  1. From Ironwood/Hurley, head west on US-2. You will pass from Michigan into Wisconsin.
  2. After a short distance, you will see Center Drive on your right. If you take a look, you will even notice a white sign for one of the falls.
  3. Turn right onto Center Drive, a dirt road, a head down it. At one point, you will veer right.
  4. You’ll see a real estate sign. You might be able to park here.
  5. Walk along the trail nearby, heading toward the river. You can see the crest of the falls, but getting to the base can be more difficult (especially in such high flow).

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy to crest), 6/10 (moderate to base)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip

Interstate Falls from the base in October 2010

Interstate Falls at the crest

Where in the World is Interstate 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


  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?

Saxon Falls, Wisconsin/Michigan

Saxon Falls is an intriguing waterfall. First, the waterfall is on the Michigan/Wisconsin border on the Montreal River. I viewed it from the Wisconsin side, but it may be easier to view it from Michigan. Second, I’m curious what the whole waterfall looks like. The bottom portion is hidden from view by trees. If it could be seen in it’s entirety, it would probably be surprising, since I’m guessing there’s an unseen 50+ foot drop.

The hike to the falls from the power dam is short, but does climb over some steep terrain. Be careful! There might be a way to view the whole falls, but I’m guessing that it would involve some steep cliffs and may even be illegal.


  1. From US-2 in Wisconsin, turn north onto WI County Road B. Go for 2.5 miles.
  2. Continue straight on. Do not turn left onto County Road B. There is a sign indicating that you are heading toward Saxon Falls/Dam.
  3. Park in the parking lot near the power house.
  4. The trail will be to the right of the power house. Follow the unmarked but clearly trodden trail.

Accesibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 60′
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip

Saxon Falls in August 2008

Where in the World is Saxon Falls?