Thursday, October 24, 2013


Somehow I completely forgot that last week was Earth Science Week.  Because of that, I think I am going to continue my geology theme with photos of a few of Michigan's waterfalls.

Michigan has nearly 200 named waterfalls, all but one of which are in the Upper Peninsula.  A good place to start looking for information on Michigan Waterfalls is the book A Guide to 199 Michigan Waterfalls by Bill J. Penrose and Laurie Penrose.  This book is available in most public libraries throughout the state of Michigan.  In Isabella County it is available at all branches of the Chippewa River District Library system.  In Gratiot County it is available as a reference book at the Alma Public Library.

I remember taking several camping trips to the Upper Peninsula when I was a kid.  One of the things my family always did on these trips was look at waterfalls.  I know that as a kid, I didn't always appreciate these trips, but after I moved back to Michigan as an adult I wanted to go visit some of those places again.  So in 2007 and 2008, Shara and I went on camping trips to the Upper Peninsula.  On both of those trips we spent a lot of time looking at waterfalls.

Here are a few of the photos from those trips.

Upper Tahquamenon Falls is probably the most famous waterfall in the Michigan.  It is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi.  It is 200 feet wide and drops 50 feet.  When we visited Tahquamenon, water levels were very low, but at peak levels over 50,000 gallons per minute have been recorded flowing over the falls.

Upper Tahquamenon Falls - near Paradise, MI

Some of my favorite waterfalls in the UP are very small ones.  Scott Falls is a small 10 foot waterfall along the roadside just west of Munising.

Scott Falls - near Munising, MI

While the eastern UP has the most famous set of falls (Tahquamenon), the western half of the Upper Peninsula has many more falls.  One of the most spectacular falls is Canyon Falls.  Located on the Sturgeon River near Alberta, MI, Canyon Fall drops about 15 feet into the mouth of the Sturgeon River Canyon.

Canyon Falls - near Alberta, MI

One of my most memorable waterfalls in the UP is actually a rapids.  Located on the Paint River near Crystal Falls, Horserace Rapids runs for nearly 100 yards along the base of an 80 foot tall bluff.  When we visited Horserace Rapids a pair of kayakers were preparing to make a run through the rapids.  Just then I completely filled the memory card for my camera and I didn't have an extra one with me! I very quickly looked through the memory card and erased several pictures.  I had just enough time to catch the kayakers as they came through the rapids.  This is still one of my favorite photos.

Kayakers running Horserace Rapids - on the Paint River near Crystal Falls, MI

There are a few falls that we visited on both trips (in 2007 and 2008).  One of those falls was Wagner Falls.  Located just south of Munising on Wagner Creek, Wagner Falls is maintained by the Michigan DNR as a "natural area".  Here are two pictured of Wagner Falls.  The first is from July of 2007.

Wagner Falls (2007) - near Munising, MI

The second photo is from June of 2008.  Water levels were slightly higher in 2008, but very little changed over the course of a year.

Wagner Falls (2008) - near Munising, MI

Finally I mentioned that all of the named waterfalls in the state are in the Upper Peninsula - except one.  Ocqueoc Falls is located in Presque Isle County in the northeast part of the Lower Peninsula between Onaway and Rogers City.  It is only 2 1/2 hours from Mid-Michigan and is a great summer roadtrip destination.

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