Our Top 10 Favorite Michigan Waterfalls

We have not yet seen all 272 recorded waterfalls in Michigan but we have seen more than most. We never turn down an opportunity to trudge in a river, scale gorge walls or bushwhack through nature to access some of the most wild waterfalls in the state. Waterfalls are, without a doubt, my favorite subject to photograph. And the more wild the better.

There have been a handful of waterfalls that have stuck out to me as favorites. Some of the things I take into consideration include surrounding area, water flow, and size and shape of the waterfall. This list I’m sure will be modified as I venture out to explore more but as of now, here is my top ten Michigan waterfalls and why.

10. Manganese Falls

Manganese Falls

Number of Drops: 2
Estimated Height: 45 feet
Water Source: Manganese Creek

There’s this gorge that doesn’t look like much. It twists and turns making it difficult to see the 45 foot waterfall that tumbles through it. But if careful, Steve and I have found that standing near the top of the waterfall and looking down into the gorge can provide a very beautiful view of Manganese Falls.

One of our favorite things about this waterfall is the gorge itself. If you go a down the road, there’s an ATV trail with a bridge that crosses Manganese Creek. Here you can make your way back up towards the waterfall and really get the chance to experience the gorge. Trees jut out of the stone walls, making it seem like an ancient, untouched area. And if you’re able to make it past the extremely slippery sides, the gorge opens up into something that I could never find the words to describe.

9. Rock River Falls

Rock River Falls

Number of Drops: 1
Estimated Height: 20 feet
Water Source: Rock River

Rock River Falls was one of the first waterfalls that Steve and I visited. And we fell in love with it. Unfortunately, we haven’t been back sense due to road floodings. But it still remains one of my favorite waterfalls. It’s small but picturesque with rock and old growth forest surrounding it.

After successfully making it down the not-so-great road, we hiked around 1.5 miles back to the actual waterfall. There were boards laid down to help make it through the muddy sections but even still I ended up with a mud-covered shoe. All part of the adventure. We didn’t see anyone anywhere in the area.

8. Alder Falls

Alder Falls

Number of Drops: 4
Estimated Height: 45 feet
Tallest Single Drop: 30 feet
Water Source: Alder Creek

Alder Falls is a spectacular waterfall with so much to offer. The first drop is the most impressive, tumbling and twisting down black volcanic rock but even the small, upper drops are quite scenic. Set in a gorge, the area has high rock walls that make it challenge to scramble over but worth it.

It’s around a 0.6 mile hike back to the falls from the parking area. That is if able to make it to the parking area. Every time we have gone, there has been only one or two people.

7. Wagner Falls

Wagner Falls

Number of Drops: Several that I’ve found
Estimated Height of main drop: 20 feet
Water Source: Wagner Creek

Wagner Falls isn’t the most wild waterfall in the U.P. but it is certainly one of the most beautiful. Although there will probably be people admiring the main drop, rarely have we seen anyone else venturing off the main footpath and onto the rough and in some case non-existence trail to the upper portion of the river where several more drops exist. This portion provides an escape from the crowds and some impressive scenic views.

6. Pinnacle Falls

Number of Drops: 1
Estimated Height: 25 feet
Water Source: Yellow Dog River

I love Pinnacle Falls. Not only because it is an impressive waterfall but also because of the wild, remote area that it is located. Perhaps some of the roughest terrain along the Yellow Dog River, Pinnacle Falls offers rugged cliffs, old growth forest and historical reminders of the logging days.

This waterfall isn’t the easiest to access. It’s very easy to take a wrong turn, not too mention it’s a fairly rough road. The hike is steep but not too long and the footpath is fairly well defined.

5. Manabezho Falls

Manabezho Falls

Number of Drops: 1
Estimated Height: 20 feet
Water Source: Presque Isle River

Located in the Porcupine Mountains State Park, Manabezho Falls is one of several waterfalls on the Presque Isle River. This unique waterfall is unlike any other that we’ve seen. Water gushes through stone columns cascading over rocks.

4. Black Slate Falls

Black Slate Falls

Number of Drops: 20
Estimated Height: 40 feet
Tallest Drop: 4 feet
Water Source: Slate River

The first time I laid eyes on Black Slate Falls, I fell in love with it. I’m a sucker for a remote waterfall with lots of drops and this waterfall doesn’t disappoint. It might not be the largest or have the most amount of water pouring over it, but it is certainly beautiful and extremely peaceful. I could spend days photographing each part of this stunning waterfall. To me, this is nature at her finest.

3. Agate Falls

Number of Drops: 1
Estimated Height: 40 feet
Water Source: Middle Branch Ontonagon River

A large and impressive waterfall, Agate Falls averages a width of 90 feet wide and 40 feet tall. It is located six miles downriver from the majestic Bond Falls. Although less popular than it’s neighboring falls, still expect to see quite a few people here. It’s hard to get a good view without traversing down steep banks.

2. Bond Falls

Lower Bond Falls

Number of Drops: 2
Estimated Height: 50 feet
Tallest Drop: 40 feet
Water Source: Middle Branch Ontonagon River

Over the past few years especially Bond Falls has become quite the popular waterfall and for good reasons. Averaging a width of 160 feet wide, it is a massive waterfall. Even without it’s size, Bond Falls is special. The water flows over the rocks with a certain elegance that I have yet to see anywhere else.

While still beautiful, the popularity of this waterfall and increased number of tourists is the reason why Bond Falls has been bumped from my number one spot.

1. Ecstacy Falls

Ecstasy Falls

Number of Drops: 6
Estimated Height: 15 feet
Tallest Drop: 4 feet
Water Source: Slate River

Ectasy Falls, like Black Slate Falls, isn’t a large waterfall. But after climbing the towering gorge walls, wading through a rugged and very slippery Slate River and ending up at this awe-striking waterfall, it’s easy for me to pick it as my favorite Michigan waterfall. This tiered falls is unique in that it has a stepping set of drops that plunge over sharp rocks into a large pool in the Slate River. Everything captivated me about this waterfall; how the water tumbles down the stone, how the light sparkles off of it. This is a waterfall I could spend days upon days photographing and admiring.

Another reason I love this waterfall is because it is very difficult to access. Not only is it hidden deep in the wilds in very rough terrain, but one must also find a way to climb over the more popular 25 foot tall Slate River Falls to access it. And after that, smaller waterfalls and rapids with banks that allow little to no room. We gave up staying dry pretty early on. It’s an adventure getting there to say the least and the reward of seeing it is unlike any other.

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