The Western Upper Peninsula may be known throughout the world for its skiing and snowmobiling trails, but that isn’t the region’s only claim to fame. Every spring, the rivers come roaring to life, and with the rushing water comes majestic waterfalls that make this one of the top destinations for going on warm-weather adventures.
With over 150 different waterfalls running through the Upper Peninsula, there’s no way to see them all on your average vacation. But you can still catch a good glimpse of why each one holds a special place in the hearts of everyone who visits or lives in the region.
This list of the five best waterfalls in the Western Upper Peninsula can provide a starting point for planning a trip that includes not only the best hotels in Ironwood to stay at but also the most scenic views that will transform your trip into a memorable adventure.
For the Avid Photographer: Rainbow Falls
The Rainbow Falls is located along the Black River, and you’ll only need to take a short 1/2 mile hiking trail to the observation deck. While the distance might not be far for even new hikers, you will want to note that the majority of the trek involves working your way through multiple stairs.
The extra stair climbing is worth it, however, when you catch a glimpse of what is known to be one of the region’s most photogenic waterfalls. When you catch the light just right, you can capture the beautiful rainbow effect that shines through the spray. You’ll be glad you made an effort to see this one when you’re perusing through your photographs as you relax in Ironwood hotels once your big adventure is over.
For the Family Friendly Group: Potawatomi Falls
Traveling with a family means that you may prefer to find a waterfall that offers accessible viewing platforms along with shorter hikes that are easier for kids or senior adults to handle. The Potawatomi Falls is wheelchair accessible, and the walking time to see the gorgeous view is usually around 15 minutes or less.
The restrooms at the site are an added amenity that makes the waterfall even more family-friendly. The Potawatomi Falls are also located only a few miles from Upper Peninsula hotels that give you an easy place to catch a bite to eat and share what you loved the most about your shared adventure.
For the Traveler with a Bucket List: Tahquamenon Falls
Although the topic of which is the most famous waterfall in the Upper Peninsula is often up for debate, you’ll find that the Tahquamenon Falls is almost always on the list. To see the series of falls, you can take a ferry to the island where the Tahquamenon River splits and becomes the second largest waterfall that you can find east of the Mississippi River.
Only Niagara Falls beats this one in terms of size, and just mentioning the name is bound to generate some fun conversations when you mention to others that you just saw the Tahquamenon Falls on your trip.
For the Bigger-Is-Better Crowd: Great Conglomerate Falls
The Great Conglomerate Falls is another supersized beauty, and this one is so wide that it is sometimes hard to capture the entire scene in one photograph. Located on the Black River scenic byway, you’ll also find that this waterfall is located close to Ironwood hotels, along with beautiful hiking trails that are surrounded by old-growth hemlock and hardwoods.
A large conglomerate rock formation divides this waterfall into two rushing streams of water, and you’ll find that the 40-foot drop is even more impressive during the height of the snowmelt.
For the Waterfall Collectors: The Presque Three
It might not be possible to collect waterfalls in a jar like butterflies, but the Presque Isle Falls comes as close as you can get for the avid waterfall admirer. The Presque Isle River waterfalls include the Nawadaha Falls, the Manido Falls, and the Manabezho Falls.
The 1.3-mile loop that takes you to viewing areas for each one of the three falls only takes slightly more than 30 minutes to complete. The route is also leashed dog-friendly and mild enough for even young children to complete. Being able to see three of the Upper Peninsula’s most famous waterfalls is quite the treat, and you can even enjoy some solitude when you head out early enough in the day to beat the crowds.
Waterfall viewing is an adventure that everyone can enjoy, but you’ll want to remember to play it safe as you head out for your trip. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep at one of our hotels in Ironwood where the beds are cozy, and you can enjoy nearby venues for dining and entertainment. Then, lace up your most comfortable pair of hiking boots the following day, and don’t forget to make sure your camera or smartphone is charged up and ready to snap those fantastic pictures of some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.