On the third day of our camping trip we drove to the Upper Peninsula to see waterfalls in the Ottawa National Forest. On this day, we drove The Black River National Scenic Byway to see five waterfalls plus Lake Superior. To keep my posts from getting too long and photo heavy, yet also to cover each fall thoroughly, I am going to cover each stop along the byway separately.
The Ottawa National Forest is a National Forest that covers 993,010 acres in the Upper Peninsula of the U.S. State of Michigan. That's a lot of land, and a whole lot of trees! When we first got to the forest and parked our car in the parking lot for the Potawatomi and Gorge Falls we were facing the woods and as I looked at the deep density of the forest I said to my family "That looks like mosquito hell". Everyone laughed, because all week we had been experiencing mosquitos from hell, and now it looked like we were headed right into a thicket filled with them.
So after lathering and bathing in "Deep Woods Off", we headed onto the trail and hiked deep into the woods. Even though it was the week of the 4th of July, there were hardly any people here. We felt we had all 993,010 acres all to ourselves. Which made me nervous. I feel safer with people around. These woods looked like something out of "Lord of the Rings" movie. They were so filled with....trees! In fact, I saw nothing but trees, everywhere I looked. The thickness of the trees was nothing I had ever experienced before in all my travels. And everything was so lush and green because of the mammoth amount of rainfall we received this year. And yes, the mosquitoes were terrible as expected. Even though they wouldn't land on us because of the "Deep Woods Off", they were still constantly buzzing around our heads and bodies desperately trying to find a place to land.
I was so nervous we would encounter a black bear hiking in these deep woods, that I insisted we hike as a group and talk constantly to keep the bears at bay. This irritated my husband to no end, for he really enjoys the peace and solitude of the woods and actually was hoping to see a black bear; so he slowed his pace, and backed off from the rest of the party. And in case your wondering, no, we never saw a black bear or any other animal for that matter, just a lot of mosquitoes.
Now after two days of hiking in the woods, my family was getting a little sore from walking, so the real beauty of this day was that just about every water fall was only a short hike from our car. There is basically a road called "Black River Road" (also called The Black River National Scenic Byway) and you drive on this road and pull off and park in designated parking lots of waterfall trails. All the trails are super short and easy (though there are a few with strenuous steps). There are five falls to see on this road and you can easily see them all in one day. The road ends at the shores of Lake Superior where you can cross a beautiful suspension bridge and enjoy the beach and have a picnic lunch!
Potawatomi Falls is one of the areas most beautiful waterfalls. It has a twenty foot drop and an eight foot span. It consists of a spit drop over a dome of conglomerate rock that creates two curving waterfalls.
All the trails in this area are extremely well-maintained, easy to follow, and several have nice viewing areas so you can get really close to the falls.
Although Potawatomi Falls and Gorge Falls are only an 1/8 mile apart, the hike down (and back up) can be strenuous for some. There are very nice stairs with rails to aid you to the viewing deck, plus a few benches to stop and rest along the way.
Gorge Falls is named for the deep and narrow gorge above and below the falls. It's height is twenty five feet and it's crest is ten feet.
This was one of my favorite falls. I loved the deep dark color of the rock and seeing all the lush green foliage on the sides of the gorge.
I loved the rich brown color of the water.
Have a Great Day! Amy
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