Hi Friends! And a very happy Monday to each and every one of you! Oh my goodness. It’s been pouring rain here and of course it started when I was walking out of Hobby Lobby. I’m freakin’ drenched but that’s okay, because my trips to Hobby Lobby and Michaels were a complete success! I seriously can’t wait to show you… hopefully later this week 🙂
Alright all you 90s babies… I’m about to do the unthinkable and tell you to forget those infamous words of TLC. Today, I’m telling you DO go chasin’ waterfalls, don’t you dare stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to. Because if you listen to them, you’re going to missing out on some pretty spectacular sights in the oh so gorgeous Mitten State.
Last month, my parents and I headed up to the UP for my cousins graduation. We went early to spend some time exploring. (I did a little Weekend Round UP on our trip here.) One thing we did was make sure we could see as many waterfalls as we could!
Awhile ago, this post was going around my Facebook with all my friends and family sharing it over and over again. The U.P. is home to 200+ waterfalls, and that post outlines some of the most popular.
The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is home to many of these gorgeous waterfalls. Why so many? Because most of the waterfalls in this area are the result of water running over a shelf or cliffs of hard limey sandstone called the Munising Formation. This formation starts at Tahquamenon Falls (about 75 miles east of the National Lakeshore) to Laughing Whitefish Falls (about 30 miles west of the National Lakeshore).
My Dad and I decided that while we were in the Muinising area, we wanted to see as many of these gorgeous waterfalls as we could. Don’t worry, we did the dirty work for you, and picked the Top 5 you can’t miss in The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Top 5 Waterfalls in The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
5. Munising Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in the area, so of course, they have to make my list! There are a few things that I loved about these falls. The first is how easily accessible they are. Not only are they right in downtown Munising, but they lie only 800 feet from the parking lot on a paved trail. The second is that the paved trail is really cool (temperature wise). You’re walking through a sandstone canyon with a pretty little babbling brook and it’s super relaxing. Plus, since it is cooler through the canyon, you don’t have to deal with nearly as many bugs as some of the other waterfalls.
I also love these falls because you get a pretty grand waterfall for very little effort. Most of the time, I’m a huge believer in the fact that the best views are the ones you hike for. But this just may be the one exception. Aren’t they gorgeous?!
4. Miners Falls comes in at number 4 on my list for one reason and one reason alone. PESKY. BUGS. Now hear me out. I totally get that you’re in the middle of the woods. So of course there will be bugs. But there are so many mosquitoes here that it makes the hike and view almost miserable. Check out this Snapchat of my dad’s legs…
I’m not even kidding. He got over 100 mosquitoes bites standing on the Upper Platform of Miner’s Falls. AND HE WAS WEARING BUG SPRAY.
To reach Miners Falls, you have to hike 1.2 miles round trip. It’s an easy hike, so don’t let that stop you from visiting. Because the falls really are pretty! There are two ways to see the falls. The first is the Upper Platform where you’ll find a view like this…
and the second is from the Lower Platform. Be warned, to get to the Lower Platform you’ll have to go down 77 stairs. But I promise you, it’s worth it. The view from the Lower Platform is much more majestic, IMO. I really think you should see these falls because they are gorgeous. But promise me this… you’ll wear pants and long sleeves, and take a bath in bug spray before you leave. (And maybe hook one of those belt bug sprays to you too.)
3. Laughing Whitefish Falls is right in the middle of my list. They’re really pretty, but they are really far out of the way. It took us about 45 minutes to get there. Now, most people you talk to will tell you that this is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Michigan. We had read so many rave reviews about it, that we were expecting something pretty freakin’ amazing. But, Laughing Whitefish Falls are number 3 on my list because they were a little bit underwhelming. Now, please don’t take that as they weren’t beautiful, because they were! We were just expecting a little bit “more” based on everything we had heard.
To reach the falls, you’ll hike a .6 mile hike. Like Miner’s Falls, there is an Upper and Lower viewing platform. I didn’t count the steps down to the Lower Platform, but I can tell you… it felt like 700! HAHA But as with Miner’s Falls, you get the best view from the bottom.
2. Wagner Falls is number 2 on my list and this is the waterfall that was the biggest surprise for me. I hadn’t read much on it, other than it was literally just around the corner from our hotel. I was SHOOK when I saw how dang pretty it was. Honestly, I felt like I was in the Smoky Mountains, not Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This one is also super easily accessible, and has little benches you can sit on and enjoy it from.
Not only are the falls really gorgeous, but the surrounding area is beautiful too! Just be warned, the viewing platform isn’t very big, and I could see it getting very crowded. We were there the first weekend in June and had the place to ourselves.
1. My Number 1 favorite waterfall in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is 1,000% Chapel Falls. This one you have to work to get to. But the hike is so.dang.worth.it. We actually saw these falls as part of our Chapel Rock hike. I’m going to be sharing more about this hike next week, but just know, to get the max effect of these gorgeous falls, you need to hike the entire Chapel Rock hike. Which is long.
We first saw Chapel Falls 1.4 miles into our hike. There are tons of places that you can veer off the trail to see glimpses of the falls before you even reach the viewing platform. you can’t miss these spots, because they are well traveled. In one, you could even sit on top of the waterfall! Talk about incredible!
The first viewing platform has a really great view of the falls.
The second viewing platform will show you the falls from the front, but be forewarned. If you’re visiting in the summer, you may not be able to see them well thanks to all the trees.
Now, I’m begging you… DON’T STOP AND TURN AROUND AT THE VIEWING PLATFORM. I promise you, it’s just going to get better. 3 miles in, you’ll find Chapel Rock and then Chapel Beach. And guess what you get to do at Chapel Beach?! PLAY IN THE BOTTOM PART OF CHAPEL FALLS.
Isn’t that awesome? Plus, you can wander around on Chapel Beach which is really something special.
And what would a Top 5 list be without a Bonus? If you want to see a waterfall that you literally just have to pull to the side of the road for, check out Alger Falls. It’s actually really pretty and you can totally see it from the window of your vehicle.
Have you chased waterfalls in The Pictured Rocks? Which ones were your favorite?
Bachelorette is back tonight guys! Who else is excited?!
I’ll be back tomorrow with another Travel Tuesday post.