Black River Harbor Recreation Area

Area Status: Closed
This area is 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.  For guidelines on use of the pavillion, see the attached document:  BRH Pavillion Guidelines.



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

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Reservations are now available at 23 of the 40 sites at the campground.   Work will be continuing at Black River Harbor this year to improve facilities and resources for the public’s enjoyment.  Please be aware of the following:
  • Work has begun on dock redesign and future replacement.  There is no access to the docks until work is completed, and no transient docking available.
  • The lower parking lot remains open for access to the day use area and suspension bridge.
  • Please call ahead for current conditions; the area may be closed for short durations to accommodate construction activities.  We will send out closure alerts as far in advance as we are able.
Check back frequently for project updates and status of facilities. We thank you for your patience and support as we complete this much needed work at the Black River Harbor area.
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: 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 Docking fees are determined by size of boat. Contact Ottawa National Forest for more information regarding fees. Day fee of $5.00, Annual Pass for $30.00
Open Season: May - Sept. 30
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.
Information Center:
  • All day use areas and 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.
  • The campground and pavilion are operated by Clark Campground Concessions under special use permit, 218-310-1954.
  • 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.

General Information


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.


Large Parking lot.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Camping & Cabins

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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


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


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Scenic Driving

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Water Activities

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Picnic tables Each campsite, two overlooking Lake Superior, and 26 in day use picnic area
Drinking water Pressurized Water System
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.
Parking Large paved parking lot located adjacent to day use/picnic area
Boat ramp Located in Harbor
Fee charged for some activities Camping, Pavilion, and Docking
Tent camping 39 sites
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.
Camping trailer 39 sites