Black River Harbor Recreation Area


Area Status: Closed
Black River Harbor

Known for its spectacular waterfalls, idyllic beaches, scenic hiking trails and tranquil campground, the Black River Harbor Recreation Area is a popular destination throughout the year. Originating in Wisconsin, the Black River flows through forested areas of large pine, hemlock and hardwood trees. The River has a series of scenic waterfalls as it drops in elevation to meet Lake Superior. Tannin (tanic acids)from hemlock trees is what gives it its unique color.

The Harbor offers one of the area's few access points to Lake Superior, with boating being a major summer time activity. The boat ramp can accommodate almost any craft trailered in. There is no launching fee. Boat fuel and snacks are available through the concessionaire. Parking for trucks and boat trailers is ample.

A historic pavillion built by the CCC is also located here.  Review guidelines on use of the pavilion.

 

Maps

  • Black River Harbor Map (Updated 4/25/2011) - pdf
  • Black River Harbor Waterfall Map (Updated 1/18/2017) - pdf

At a Glance

Current Conditions: The campground is closed and gated for the winter season. The Day Use area opens May 15, 2022. Due to a work project to address erosion, drainage issues, and paving of the campground roads and camping spurs, the Campground will be closed until July 8, 2022.  Due to the uncertainty of timelines for the project the opening date may need to be delayed further.  If the campground must be closed longer to accommodate road work, those reservations affected will be cancelled, and refunds issued.
Reservations: Reservations are accepted for 23 sites. Seventeen (17) first come, first served sites are also available. Reservation -
  • Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance of visit.
  • Reservations must be made at least 3 days in advance of visit.
  • Go to: Recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777 to make a reservation.
 
Area Amenities: Accessible,Boat ramp,Tent camping,Camping trailer,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
Fees: Day Use: From May 15 - September 30 - Picnic Area/Day Use Area $5 per day per vehicle $30 Annual Pass per vehicle Pass Information for Sylvania Wilderness, Black River Harbor Recreation Area and Lake Ottawa Recreation Area   Camping: $16/night per campsite.  Upon arrival - if you have a reservation, proceed to the campground. If you do not have a reservation, proceed to the self-serve fee station located at the CAMPGROUND ENTRANCE to register and pay the campsite fee.   Docking:  Docking fees are determined by size of boat.  Contact Ottawa National Forest for more information regarding fees.
Open Season: July 8 - October 11
Usage: Light-Medium
Best Season: June-September
Busiest Season: July-September
Restrictions: Camping in a developed recreation site is allowed for a period not longer than 14 days, except as otherwise posted. After this time, you must move to another campground or dispersed site for at least 24 hours. Campers must occupy the site the first night. Eight people and 2 motorized vehicles are allowed per campsite with a maximum of one RV or camper trailer and two tents per camping site or three tents per camping site.
 
Closest Towns: Bessemer, Mi. is 15 miles to the south
Water: Pressurized Water System. Not potable.
Restroom: 2 sets of vault toilets in campground; 1 set of flush toilets in pavilion; 1 vault toilet in day use
Passes: Golden Age/Interagency Senior Pass and Access Passes are accepted in the campground.
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center:
  • All day use areas, docking fee area, campground and pavilion are managed by the Ottawa National Forest. For more information or questions please contact the Bessemer Ranger District at 906-932-1330.

General Information

Directions:

From Ironwood Mi., travel east on US 2 to Powderhorn Road, turn left onto Powderhorn Road and travel approximately 3 miles to CR 513, turn left onto CR 513 and travel approximately 11 miles to the Black River Harbor Recreation Area.

From Wakefield, Mi., travel west on US 2 to Powderhorn Road, turn right onto Powderhorn Road and travel approximately 3 miles to CR 513, turn left onto CR 513 and travel approximately 11 miles to the Black River Harbor Recreation Area.
 


Parking:

Large Parking lot.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

The campground has 39 paved camping spurs, 2 vault toilets and a pressurized water system. The campsites can accommodate tents, trailers, and motor homes. Seven campsites provide an overlook to Lake Superior. Each campsite is bordered by vegetation providing privacy for a quiet enjoyable experience.

General Info:

Seasonal Information

 

Please contact the Bessemer Ranger District at 906-932-1330 for additional information.


No. of Sites 39
Reservation Info No reservations taken.
Fire Information Fire ring in each campsite
No. of Accessible sites 0
Sleeping Shelter No
Status: Open
Fees: $16 a night.
Hours of Operation: Campground is open 24 hours a day, self pay
Difficulty Level: Easy to Intermediate

Lake and Pond Fishing

Recreation areas with activity Lake and Pond Fishing:

Lake Superior is easily accessible from Black River Harbor for the enjoyment of all. If its deep water fishing or fishing from the shoreline the facilities at Black River Harbor will make this all a reality. The Harbor is one the area's few access points to Lake Superior with boating being a major summertime activity. The boat ramp can accommodate most watercraft. There is no launching fee and ample parking is available.  There is no launching fee and ample parking is available.  The docking fee area is managed by the Ottawa National Forest. For more information or questions please contact the Bessemer Ranger District at 906-932-1330.  Under special use permit, the Black River Harbor Boating Club offers boat fuel for sale.  Their hours will be clearly posted on site. They also operate the boat waste water pump out system.

Fish Species Lake Trout, Coho Salmon, Steelhead Trout, Walleye, Bass, and Panfish
Fishing Mode Boat or shoreline
Special Designations Boat Ramp, Dock, Fuel, and Sewage Dump Station
Fishing Platform No
Cleaning Station No
Accessible Platform No
Water Temperature Cold
Open Season: May-September
Best Season: June-August
Difficulty Level: Easy to Intermediate

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

There are several opportunities for short hikes within the Black River Harbor Recreation Area.  You can take any of the five short (1/4 - 3/4 mile) trails to the waterfalls which are all accessible from paved parking lots.  If you prefer to make it more of a day you can access the North Country Trail at the trail head at the north end of Copper Peak Road and travel north along the Black River and view the waterfalls and continue into the Black River Harbor for a 6 mile hike.  If you desire more the North Country Trail continues across our famous suspension bridge and 5.8 miles to the edge of Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park.  

Difficulty Desc. Most of the trails that lead to waterfalls are paths with steps.  This can be strenuous so please pace yourself and avoid over exertion.
Status: Open
Fees: None
Difficulty Level: Easy to More Difficult

Backpacking

Recreation areas with activity Backpacking:

The North Country Trail travels through the heart of the Black River Harbor Recreation Area.  The trail head is located at the parking lot of Conglomerate Falls and travels north along the Black River into the Harbor and across a suspension bridge.  The trail then turns south along the Black River to Rainbow Falls and then east towards Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. 

Status: Open
Fees: None
Difficulty Level: Easy to More Difficult

Picnicking

Recreation areas with activity Picnicking:

The Black River Harbor Recreation Area Picnic area overlooks the Black River as it runs into the Harbor and on into Lake Superior.

General Info:

Parking

Large Parking lot.


No. of Sites 26 accessible picnic tables
Reservation Info None
Fire Information Outdoor grills
No. of Accessible Sites 26 accessible picnic tables
Status: Open
Fees: No Charge
Hours of Operation: Area opens at 6am and closes at 10pm daily during open season
Difficulty Level: Easy

Group Picnicking

Recreation areas with activity Group Picnicking:

The Black River Harbor Pavilion is available for group use by reservation. This historic building sits overlooking the Black River Harbor, Lake Superior, and Picnic area.  It has flush toilets, tables, and a fireplace inside. This is ideal for birthday party's and small gatherings. To Reserve this building call 877-444-6777 or visit National Recreation Reservation Service.

Check out the attached document for guidelines on using the Black River Harbor Pavillion:  Black River Harbor Pavilion Guidelines.

No. of Sites 1
Reservation Info 1-877-444-6777 or www.recreation.gov
Group Shelter Yes, with public restrooms
Hookups - Electric yes, 110 two sets of interior outlets.
No. of Accessible Sites 1
No. of Accessible sites 1
Status: Closed
Open Season: May-September
Fees: $40 a day
Reservation required?: Y
Reservation info: To reserve the Black River Harbor Pavilion contact the National Recreation Reservation Service at 1-877-444-6777 or their website www.recreation.gov
Best Season: June-August
Hours of Operation: 6am - 10pm daily, during open season.

Scenic Driving

Recreation areas with activity Scenic Driving:

The Black River Scenic Byway begins northwest of Bessemer, Michigan, at the intersection of CR 204 (Airport Rd) and CR 513 (Black River Road) and continues for 11 miles to Black River Harbor. Officially dedicated as a National Scenic Byway on September 19, 1992, for its exceptional beauty, recreational beauty and recreational opportunities. To access the Black River Scenic Byway from Ironwood take US 2 east and turn left on Powderhorn Road, travel north until you intersect with CR 513, turn left on CR 513 and you are on the Black River Scenic Byway. From Wakefield and points east, take US 2 west to Bessemer, at the west end of Bessemer turn right on Powderhorn Road, travel north until you intersect with CR 513, turn left onto CR 513 and you are on the Black River Scenic Byway.

Pavement Type for Parking Asphalt
Vechicle Clearance Normal highway clearance is available.
Size Restrictions Road Restrictions controlled by Gogebic County Road Commission. Expect Weight Restriction in the Spring.
Status: Open
Difficulty Level: Easy

Boating - Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Motorized:

Lake Superior is easily accessible from Black River Harbor for the enjoyment of all. If its deep water fishing or fishing from the shoreline the facilities at Black River Harbor will make this all a reality. The Harbor is one of the area's few access points to Lake Superior with boating being a major summertime activity.  The boat ramp can accommodate almost any craft that is trailered in. There is no launching fee and ample parking is available.  The docking fee area is managed by the Ottawa National Forest. For more information or questions please contact the Bessemer Ranger District at 906-932-1330.  Under special use permit, the Black River Harbor Boating Club offers boat fuel for sale.  Their hours will be clearly posted on site. They also operate the boat waste water pump out system.

Launch Ramps Yes, Concrete Base, no charge to launch boat
Trailer Parking Yes
Class of rapids None
Type of Craft Harbor can normally accept a boat that draws 7 feet or less.
Motor Type N/A
Fuel availability Yes
Water/Flow Level
Marina/Mooring Yes, docking is on a first come first serve basis, rates are determined by the size of your craft and the pay station is located right on the stationary dock with a pay tube.
Status: Open
Fees: The fee for docking is based upon the length of your boat and if you dock to the stationary or floating dock. There is no fee for using the boat ramp.
Hours of Operation: 24 hours a day, self pay.
Difficulty Level: Easy to Intermediate

Swimming

Recreation areas with activity Swimming:

The beach area at Black Harbor is not maintained, however it is sandy with some small stonesshore of Lake Superior. The swimming area is not marked so please use caution, there is no life guard on duty. You can get to the beach by going to the day use area and crossing our famous wood suspension bridge and follow the trail to the lake.

Clothing Requirements Bathing Suit Required. No Lifeguard On Duty
Water Temperature Lake Superior is a cold lake due to its size and depth.
Difficulty Level: Easy to Difficult

Amenities

Camping trailer: 39 sites
Picnic tables: Each campsite, two overlooking Lake Superior, and 26 in day use picnic area
Tent camping: 39 sites
Parking: Large paved parking lot located adjacent to day use/picnic area
Toilets: 2 sets of vault toilets in camping area; 1 set of flush toilets in the pavilion; and 1 vault toilet in the day use area.
Fee charged for some activities: Camping, Pavilion, and Docking
Accessible: Restrooms at day use area are accessible. 26 picnic tables in the day use area and 6 picnic tables in the pavilion are accessible.
Boat ramp: Located in Harbor
Drinking water: Pressurized Water System

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
46.664109

  Longitude : 
-90.052079