Discover Our Waterfalls!



Ottawa Waterfalls

The combination of topography and thousands of miles of rivers and streams have created hundreds of waterfalls throughout the Upper Peninsula, with several of the waterfalls located on the Ottawa. The Ottawa National Forest has 18 named waterfalls, 53,637 acres of lakes, 2,366 miles of perennial streams, 2,890 miles of intermittent (occasional) streams, and 210,761 acres of wetlands.

The Upper Peninsula is known for its heavy snowfall, and the ensuing spring melt that feed the rivers and waterways. Cooler summers with lots of rain mean rivers, lakes and wetlands don't dry up in the summers (as much!). Because of its location, water from the Ottawa's rivers and streams help feed Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan and Huron, which also feeds the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

The falls vary in size and some are easier to get to than others. Below is a list of most visited waterfalls on and around the Ottawa National Forest. Each has a link to their web page for more information and driving directions.

Print out our Waterfall Guide (pdf) to take with you on your trip.


Agate Falls

Watersfalls at Agate

Impressive and easy to get to! The hike out to the falls is not long, but is very steep. The falls are located under an old railroad trestle that is now a snowmobile trail in the winter. The falls are not on National Forest System lands, but is almost completely surrounded by the Ottawa.

Get driving directions.


Ajibikoka Falls

A great falls to see for those wanting to test out their orienteering skills! While the terrain isn't difficult, there is not an obvious trail to the falls. An old forest road will get you near the falls, but it is up to you to find your way to falls with a map and compass. These falls have an impressive 40 foot drop surrounded by quartz outcroppings.

Get driving directions.


Black River Falls

All five falls can be accessed from trailheads located along County Road 513 or by hiking the North Country National Scenic Trail Just watch for the signs. The trail to Potawatomi Falls is an accessible trail and is accessed from the Gorge Falls parking lot.


Great Conglomerate Falls

Conglomerate Waterfalls

At the falls, the river separates into two sections, falling 40 feet around an island of conglomerate rock. Old growth hemlock and hardwood add to the natural beauty of the area. There is a 3/4-mile hiking trail that will drop steadily as you near the riverbank.

Get driving directions.




Potawatomi and Gorge Falls

Potawatomi Waterfalls

Water cascades over the conglomerate rocks at Potawatomi and Gorge Falls. A 500 foot asphalt and boardwalk accessible trail leads to anobservation area that provides a fantastic view of the falls. A 400 foot trail leads to Gorge Falls, a 34 foot drop falls that is both impressive and fun to photograph.

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Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Waterfalls

Named for the rainbows created by the mist from the 40 foot drop the water makes, Rainbow Falls is the last falls on the Black River before the river enters Lake Superior. There is an observation deck on the west side of the river that can be reached by a short 1/2 mile hike and walking down a stairway. For the more adventurous visitors, you can hike up to the falls on the east side of the river by crossing the river at the suspension bridge in the day use area. From there it's a ¾ mile long hike on the North Country National Scenic Trail to the falls.

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Sandstone Falls

Sandstone Waterfalls with dogs

One of five waterfalls found in the Black River Harbor Recreation Area. This small waterfall is located 13 miles north of Bessemer, MI. Although Sandstone Falls is not a large waterfall, the varied rock formations and hollows carved out of sandstone and conglomerate rock by stream erosion over centuries makes this little falls well worth the ¼ mile hike. The trail will take you from a paved parking lot down a series of steps to the falls.

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Bond Falls

Waterfalls at Bond Falls

100 feet across with a 40 foot drop makes Bond Falls one of the most impressive falls. There is a boardwalk at the bottom and trails and stairs leading up to the top of the falls. The falls themselves are not on National Forest System lands, but, like Agate Falls, are surrounded by the Ottawa National Forest.

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Cascade Falls

The water of Cascade Creek cascades over numerous 6 foot drops as it heads to the West Branch of the Ontonagon River. Two trails will lead you to the falls, an unnamed trail and Bluff Trail. The lower unnamed trail has few elevation changes, while Bluff Trail is longer and has more elevation changes and scenic views.

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Duppy Falls

Upriver from Jumbo Falls on the Jumbo River, Duppy Falls is a set of three, 4 foot or less, drops in quick succession. To add some distinction, one of the drops is located after a bend in the river. The trail leading upstream to the falls was created by anglers and is unmarked.

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Jumbo Falls

Jumbo Waterfalls

These falls are perfect for a quick afternoon hike. Located just west of Kenton a few miles, the trail is mostly level, although tree roots have made a few bumpy areas. As you walk through the hemlock keep an eye out as you walk, wildflowers and an array of colorful fungus can be found along the short trail. There are two short boardwalks over wet areas on the trail.

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Kakabika Falls

The Kakabika Falls area series of "S" turns, before the final narrow chute, as the Cisco Branch of the Ontonagon River drops in elevation. The trail to the falls is short and not too difficult.

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Mex-i-mine Falls

Meximine falls in spring

The short trail begins in the Burned Dam Campground and takes you down to the Middle Branch of the Ontonagon River where the falls are located. Spend some time exploring the unique rock formations created by over a century of water erosion. See if you can find any wildlife enjoying the warm(er) pools of water found in the depressions of the rocks around the falls!

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O Kun-de-Kun Falls

O kun de kun falls in fall season

One of the falls located on the Baltimore River, O Kun de Kun Falls is just 8 miles north of Bruce Crossing, MI. The 1.3 mile hike to the falls begins at a North Country National Scenic Trail trailhead. There are two waterfalls here, so when you reach the upper falls, keep going! Just after you reach O Kun de Kun Falls there is a short suspension bridge that crosses the river allowing you to continue on the North Country National Scenic Trail.

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Sturgeon Falls

Spring at Sturgeon River Falls

Just under 15 miles from Sidnaw, MI, the falls are located in the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness. The Wild and Scenic Sturgeon River rushes out of the northern portion of the wilderness, over the 20 foot high volcanic outcroppings to create the Sturgeon Falls. The gorge reaches 350 feet in height and a mile in width in some places.

From the trailhead, the trail starts out relatively flat, as you continue on the almost 1 mile trail to the falls, the trail becomes steep and switch backs down to the river. Broad, flat rocks at the bottom of the falls are a great spot for an afternoon picnic while you listen to the sound of the falls.

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Yellow Dog Falls

This impressive waterfall is located in the 16,850 acre McCormick Wilderness on the Wild and Scenic Yellow Dog River. While hiking on the 2.38 mile trail to the falls there are several smaller drops along the Yellow Dog River, but the jewel is the 30 foot drop that is the Yellow Dog Falls. These falls are located in the northeast corner of the wilderness.

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Yondata Falls

Image of waterfalls at Yondata

Yondata Falls, on the Presque Isle River, has numerous drops. The largest is the one at the top of the trail. The trail is short, but is downhill, the hike back up can be a little more difficult.

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