Bessemer Ranger District

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Black River Harbor

Bessemer Ranger District has a variety of traditional lands, fisheries, and timber programs with new challenges in wildlife partnerships, in recreation (Region 9's only Harbor) and with management of our Wild and Scenic Rivers, and Scenic Byway. The district has an excellent reputation for being team participants at both the district and Forest levels.

There is something for everyone with 32 waterfalls; 1200 miles of rivers and streams; over 1,100 lakes; and 30 miles of Lake Superior shoreline just 15 minutes north on County Road 513. 

It's a perfect spot for fishing, picnicking, swimming, boating, canoeing, hiking, camping and hunting for grouse, black bear, and white tailed deer. BESSEMER'S Fourth of July celebration and Pumpkinfest are among the finest in the Midwest, and involves the whole community. A Lake Superior fishing derby on Labor Day ushers in the fall color and salmon run for the Black River Harbor area.

The Black River Harbor Recreational Area is a popular destination for many when visiting the Bessemer Ranger District.  This recreational area provides a marina/harbor, campground, watersfalls, access to the North Country Trail. 

BESSEMER is in the heart of Big Snow country where fresh powder graces four ski resorts with novice to expert trails atop three mountain ranges; kilometers of groomed cross-country trail;  The almost one million acre Ottawa National Forest is located throughout the western half of the Upper Peninsula. The forest has five ranger districts and a nursery that serves the Great Lakes area. The Eastern Time zone cuts across the heart of the Forest.


At a Glance

Open Season: January - December
Usage: Medium-Heavy

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Camping & Cabins

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Day Hiking

Black River Harbor - Some of the Forest’s most popular trails are located in the Black River Harbor area; approximately 15 miles north of Bessemer and Ironwood in Gogebic County. These trails provide access to Great Conglomerate, Gorge, Potawatomi, Sandstone, and Rainbow Falls and range in length from 1/4 to 1-1/2 miles. All trails descend rather steeply from the rim of the Black River Gorge to overlook points. To ensure your safety, stay on designated trails and observe all regulations.

Because of its unique character, the trail that serves Potawatomi and Gorge Falls was designated a National Recreation Trail in 1978. Developments along it include stairways and observation platforms that overlook the Black River and the two waterfalls. A barrier-free access leading from Gorge Falls parking lot to Potowatomi Falls, provides a unique viewing opportunity for people with disabilities. There is also a picnic area. Large, old growth hemlock, white pine, and hardwood timber add to the area’s beauty.

In addition to the Black River Waterfalls there is Wolf Mountian and Yandota Watersfalls that offer hiking and scenry viewing. 

Status: Open

Areas for Day Hiking at Bessemer Ranger District


North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) Bessemer Ranger District Segment, is located at the north end of Copper Peak Road approximately 500 feet from GCR 513, north of Bessemer, MI. Parking is available at the trailhead. The trail runs north for 3 miles to the Conglomerate falls and continues past the Gorge, Potawatomi, Sandstone, and Rainbow Falls for 3 miles to the Black River Harbor. There the trail crosses the footbridge over the Black River an turns south up a hill. Once on top the trail continues south to the Rainbow Falls and turns east for 5.8 miles to GCR 519 and north into the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. From Ironwood, Mi take US2 east to GCR 513 (Black River Scenic Byway) and turn left. Travel 10 miles to the north to the trailhead. From Wakefield, Mi take US 2 west for 6 1/2 miles and turn right on GCR 513 (Black River Scenic Byway). Travel north on GCR 513 for 10 miles to the north to the trailhead.

Fire InformationCampfires are only permitted in fire rings at designated campsites.
Status: Open

Areas for Backpacking at Bessemer Ranger District

Nature Viewing

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Scenic Driving

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Water Activities

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