June 3, 2013
Big Bay, MI
Alder Falls is located 20 miles north-west of Marquette, Michigan, just outside of Big Bay, on Alder Creek. It has a set of four drops, the lower being the most impressive at around 30 feet in height. It is a cascading falls and descends into a beautiful gorge that makes the area very photogenic. This entire area, beyond the falls, is actually one of my favorite places to visit.
Traveling upstream, the next drop is split by a rock formation and slides along a slanted rock slab. The third is around the bend and has two drops and the fourth is the smallest and is a short distance away from the third. If you continue on the trail, just above the fourth drop, you’ll find a very swampy area.
It is about a 20-minute one-way hike to reach the falls. Although not extremely steep, the trail does descent into a gorge to the lowermost falls. From there, you can climb on either side of the creek to go upstream. The trail is a bit rougher here but overall isn’t too difficult.
To get to Alder Falls from Big Bay, Michigan, take Country Road 550 south towards Marquette. Just past the bridge that goes over Alder Creek, you will see a two-track trail on your right. The trail, according to Google maps, is called Alder Creek Truck Trail. We didn’t see any markings for it when we visited and we discovered that it is not cleared in the winter.
The “road” is very sandy and has many exposed roots. We took our Jetta and were unable to make it all the way down the trail. From the start of the trail, it’s only about 0.6 miles. You’ll see a foot trail on the right with a sign that reads “No Motorized Vehicles.” You can park here and follow the foot trail down to the falls.