Waterfalls are one of the most beautiful and serene aspects of nature. There’s something about their cascading water and natural glory that just captivates onlookers. Luckily, there are a lot of waterfalls in Michigan that you can visit and enjoy. The Upper Peninsula is a particularly good spot for waterfall hunting, but there are plenty of other falls scattered throughout the state. In this article, I’ll be discussing the 15 Best Waterfalls in Michigan. From the most popular falls to the hidden gems, I’ll cover it all. So whether you’re a Michigan native or just visiting, be sure to check out some of these amazing falls.
1. Spray Falls
Talk of Michigan waterfalls and Spray Falls is sure to come up. And for a good reason, as it is one of the most dramatic waterfalls in the state. Spray Falls is located in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, one of Michigan’s most popular tourist destinations.
This fall got its name from how the water sprays up as it shoots into Lake Superior. And at 70 feet tall, you can really see the force of the water. The views of the falls are simply stunning, with the water tumbling over the sheer cliffs into the blue waters of Lake Superior.
To get to Spray Falls, you have to hike about 1.5 miles on the North Country Trail. The hike is relatively easy, with only a few moderate sections.
The best way to see Spray Falls is from a boat tour on Lake Superior. There are several companies that offer these tours, and I would highly recommend them. The boat will take you right up to the base of the falls, and you can see the water crashing down from close up. It’s an amazing experience and one that you will never forget.
2. Bond Falls
Bond Falls is a tiered waterfall located on the middle branch of the Ontonagon River in the Upper Peninsula. A short hike from the parking lot will take you to an observation deck where you can view the falls plunge 50 feet over sandstone ledges into a pool below.
The best time to view the falls is in the spring when the snowmelt is at its peak or in the fall when the leaves are changing color. The falls are located in the Ottawa National Forest, about 19 miles from Eagle River.
There are several camping options in the area if you want to make a weekend out of it and enjoy all that the Upper Peninsula has to offer. In addition to enjoying the waterfall, you can hike, bike, or ATV on the many trails in the Ottawa National Forest. You can also fish, swim, canoe, and kayak in the rivers and lakes. Or take a drive on one of the scenic byways for some fall foliage viewing.
3. Laughing Whitefish Falls
Laughing Whitefish Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Michigan that I also visited. Located in the Upper Peninsula near the town of Marquette, Laughing Whitefish Falls is the second tallest waterfall on this list at 100 feet.
From the parking lot, you’ll need to take a mile-long hike through the woods to get to the falls. The trail was well-marked and relatively easy to follow. I would rate it as moderate, with a few sections that are a bit steep. But nothing too challenging.
As you get closer to the falls, you can hear the sound of the water crashing down on the rocks. And when you finally see the falls, it does not disappoint. The water flows down a rippled limestone escarpment, creating a series of cascading waterfalls. The views are simply breathtaking, and I could have spent hours just admiring them.
For a more up-close view of the falls, you can take stairs that lead down to the bottom of the gorge. But just be careful as the rocks can be slippery.
4. Munising Falls
Another one of the best waterfalls in Michigan is Munising Falls, located in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This is one of the most visited waterfalls in Michigan because it’s easily accessible from the road. The falls are only about a 10-minute walk from the parking lot.
This fall plunges 50 feet over a curved rock wall into a large pool at the bottom, which flows into a creek with moss-covered stones. During winter, this waterfall can freeze into dramatic ice sculptures. So if you’re visiting in winter, be sure to bundle up!
Things to do near Munising Falls: Since you’re already in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, explore some of the other amazing sites in the park. Check out Miners Castle, a rock formation on the shore of Lake Superior, or the Grand Sable Dunes, towering dunes that offer great views of the lake.
5. Horseshoe Falls
Let’s move on to Horseshoe Falls, which is another great waterfall located near the town of Munising in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This spring-fed waterfall cascades down a 20-foot drop into a horseshoe-shaped basin. This fall is best viewed from the bottom, where you can get a close-up view of the water tumbling over the rocks.
However, unlike other Michigan waterfalls, Horseshoe Falls is privately owned. This means that there is an admission fee to get access to the falls. The fee is $6 for adults and $3 for children.
In my opinion, the fee is well worth it because Horseshoe Falls is one of the most unique waterfalls in Michigan. The horseshoe shape is really cool, and the views from the bottom are incredible. Plus, a trout pond is located within the property, which is also worth checking out if you have kids.
6. Dead River Falls
The name of this waterfall may not be very inviting. But trust me, Dead River Falls is definitely worth a visit. Dead River Falls is located in the town of Marquette, also in the Upper Peninsula.
This fall involves a series of cascades rather than one single drop. And in a half-mile stretch, the river drops a total of 90 feet. So, while it may not be the tallest waterfall on this list, it is certainly one of the most impressive.
You’ll have to take a 1.7-mile out-and-back hike to reach the fall. The trail is well-marked and relatively easy to follow. I would rate it as moderate since there are a few sections that are a bit steep. But nothing too challenging.
The fun part about hiking this trail is that there are multiple places along the trail you can stop and swim. However, the highlight is at the first major drop, which attracts cliff divers during summer. This aspect tends to make the hike more crowded during those months.
7. Hungarian Falls
A visit to Michigan wouldn’t be complete without a stop at one of the best waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula, Hungarian Falls. This waterfall consists of three drops consisting of upper falls, middle falls, and lower falls.
The upper falls and middle fall drop about 20 feet each, while the lower falls drop 50 feet. The middle fall is the most popular because it’s easily accessible and has a large pool at the base, which is perfect for swimming in during the summer. And to get to the upper and lower falls, you’ll require to do a lot of footwork.
Things to do near Hungarian Falls: The falls are located in the Hungarian Falls Nature Area which offers camping, picnicking, and hiking opportunities.
8. Sable Falls
Any trip to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore should include a stop at Sable Falls. This impressive waterfall is located on the Sable River and drops around 75 feet over curved rock faces.
The best thing about Sable Falls is that it’s easily accessible. There is a short 0.4-mile hike to the falls from the parking lot, which takes you through scenic areas of the forest. The trail is well-maintained and suitable for all skill levels. And families with small children can enjoy this Michigan waterfall without having to worry about a long hike.
I suggest visiting Sable Falls early in the day so you can avoid the crowds. The falls are popular with tourists, and the parking lot can fill up quickly, especially on weekends.
If you’re looking for more than just a quick stop at the falls, there are plenty of other things to do in the area. You can tour the Grand Sable Dunes or explore one of the many shipwrecks in Lake Superior. Plus, with the falls being located in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, you’re sure to find some other gorgeous views.
9. Miners Falls
Miners Falls is another one of the best waterfalls in Michigan that you can find in the Upper Peninsula. It’s located in the town of Munising, a great place to visit if you’re looking to explore the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Miners Falls is a small but beautiful waterfall with a drop of only 40 feet. But what it lacks in height, it makes up for in views. The falls flow over a series of sandstone ledges that have been carved out by years of erosion. And the surrounding forest has a peaceful, tranquil atmosphere that makes it the perfect place to relax and take in the natural beauty.
To get to Miners Falls, you’ll have to take a short hike. The trailhead starts at the Miners Falls Scenic Area Parking Lot. From there, it’s about a half-mile hike to the falls. The trail is well-marked and relatively easy to follow.
10. Tahquamenon Falls
You can’t talk about Michigan waterfalls without mentioning Tahquamenon Falls. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state, known for its dramatic size and picturesque setting. And with two distinct waterfalls, the Tahquamenon Falls are among the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River.
The Upper Falls is the more impressive of the two, with a drop of nearly 50 feet. The lower fall is also quite impressive, with a drop of 22 feet. Both falls are best viewed during spring, as they create a thunderous sound as the river flows over the falls.
Things to do near Tahquamenon Falls: There are plenty of hiking trails in the area, as well as a campground if you want to make a weekend of it. In addition, this waterfall is located in Tahquamenon Falls State Park, which offers plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities.
11. Great Conglomerate Falls
Great Conglomerate Falls is another one of Michigan’s best waterfalls, located in the Porcupine Mountains. This slide-style waterfall got its name from the large boulders that make up its bed. The fall is about 20 feet tall and flows over a series of ledges into a pool below.
You’ll have to do some hiking to reach the falls, but it’s well worth it. The hike is about 2.5 miles out and back, and it’s considered to be moderate in difficulty. The trail takes you through a mixed forest of hardwoods and evergreens, and it’s simply gorgeous.
When you reach the falls, you’ll be able to see why it’s one of the best waterfalls in Michigan. The water cascades over the ledges and slides down the boulders, creating a beautiful and serene scene. I suggest wearing shoes with good traction, as the rocks can be slippery.
12. Gabbro Falls
I don’t know why Gabbro Falls has gone unnoticed for so long, even among Michiganders. This hidden gem is located in Bessemer, in the western Upper Peninsula.
Gabbro Falls is actually made up of three levels that drop straight down into a gorge. But what makes this waterfall so special is the unique rock formation the water flows over. These are black gabbro, which is a rare type of igneous rock.
The waterfall is located just a short walk from the parking lot, and there is also a viewing platform that gives you a great view of the falls. If you have a good agility level, you can walk down to the bottom of the gorge for an even better view.
13. Douglass Houghton Falls
Douglass Houghton Falls is another must-see waterfall in Michigan. Located in the Houghton County of the Upper Peninsula, Douglass Houghton Falls is the tallest waterfall on this list at 110 feet. In fact, it’s one of the tallest waterfalls in Michigan.
The hike to the falls is about a mile long. However, I have to warn you that it is a bit challenging. There are some steep sections and a few places where you have to scramble over rocks. So make sure you wear proper footwear and be careful. But the hike is definitely worth it as Douglass Houghton Falls is an impressive sight. The water cascades down a rocky cliff, creating a series of beautiful waterfalls.
This trail is said to have been closed due to its nature. However, there are still hikers who attempt it. Therefore, if you choose to hike it, please be aware of the risks and take all necessary precautions.
14. Rock River Falls
If you’re looking for a waterfall that’s a bit more off the beaten path, then Rock River Falls is the place for you. This fall is located in the Rick River Wilderness Area, 15 miles west of Munising and 25 miles east of Marquette.
The Rock River Falls has a 15-foot drop and is famous for its natural rock formations. However, this is also what makes it a bit more challenging to get to. It is located in a remote area, and you will need to drive several miles on an unpaved road. Plus, the trail to the falls is not marked and can be difficult to follow.
But if you’re up for the Challenge, the Rock River Falls is definitely worth a visit. The views are simply stunning, and you’ll be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment for making it all the way out there. So be sure to add it to your list of the best waterfalls in Michigan.
15. Ocqueoc Falls
If you’ve been carefully reading all the above waterfall, you’ll notice that they are all located in Upper Peninsula. However, if you decide to head down to the Lower Peninsula, then you’ll only have one waterfall to visit: Ocqueoc Falls.
Ocqueoc Falls is located in the northeastern part of Michigan, in the town of Ocqueoc. The falls are not as tall as other Michigan falls, but they are still an impressive 5 feet high. I know, 5 feet doesn’t sound that tall. But the water comes rushing down with such force that it makes up for it.
To get to the falls, you have to take a 6-mile hike. The trail is easy to follow and well-marked. This trail is also used for cross-country skiing in the winter, so it’s a great option if you’re visiting Michigan during that time. But if you’re hiking in the summer, you have the opportunity to take a dip in the pool at the bottom of the falls.
Picnic tables and grills are located nearby, so you can make a day of it. And if you want to extend your stay, there are plenty of camping sites available.
These are just a few of the best waterfalls in Michigan that I recommend visiting. All of these falls are located in different parts of the state, so there’s sure to be one close to you. Plus, Michigan is a beautiful state with so much to offer, and these waterfalls are just a small part of what makes it great.