Black River Harbor Ironwood MI Comp

Black River Harbor Recreation Area

Known for its spectacular waterfalls, idyllic beaches, scenic hiking trails and tranquil campground, the Black River Harbor Recreation Area is a popular destination throughout the year. Originating in Wisconsin, the Black River flows through forested areas of large pine, hemlock and hardwood trees. The River has a series of scenic waterfalls as it drops in elevation to meet Lake Superior. Tannin (tanic acids)from hemlock trees is what gives it its unique color.

The Harbor offers one of the area’s few access points to Lake Superior, with boating being a major summer time activity. The boat ramp can accommodate almost any craft trailered in. There is no launching fee. Boat fuel and snacks are available through the concessionaire. Parking for trucks and boat trailers is ample.

A historic pavillion built by the CCC is also located here.  For guidelines on use of the pavillion, see the attached document:  BRH Pavillion Guidelines.

Guides & Maps


  1. Great Conglomerate – This waterfall is the first of the five and is named for the large piece of conglomerate rock that divides the two segments. The trail is about 3/4 mile and includes stairs and observation platform.
  2. Potawatomi Falls – Upstream from Gorge Falls and is reached by the same parking lot. The trail is approximately 1/8 miles long with some stairs and observation platform.
  3. Gorge Falls – Named for its deep, narrow gorge above and below the falls, this waterfall is next to Potawatomi Falls and is accessed through the same parking lot. Trail is Approximately 1/8 miles long with a fair amount of stairs and observation platform.
  4. Sandstone Falls – The smallest of the waterfalls, this waterfall drops off rock slabs giving it a unique appearance. The trail is approximately 1/4 mile.
  5. Rainbow Falls – The final waterfall on the Black River before it enters Lake Superior. An impressive waterfall that can be viewed on either side. Access the trail from Black River Road. The trail is approximately 1/2 mile with stairs and an observation platform. Or park at Black River Harbor, walk across the suspension bridge to the trailhead. Approximately 3/4 mile with stairs. This hike is a little more strenuous and cation is needed when standing near the waterfall as rock are slippery when wet and no barrier.

Campground Camping

The campground has 39 paved camping spurs, 2 vault toilets and a pressurized water system. The campsites can accommodate tents, trailers, and motor homes. Seven campsites provide an overlook to Lake Superior. Each campsite is bordered by vegetation providing privacy for a quiet enjoyable experience.

Lake and Pond Fishing

Lake Superior is easily accessible from Black River Harbor for the enjoyment of all. If its deep water fishing or fishing from the shoreline the facilities at Black River Harbor will make this all a reality. The Harbor is one the area’s few access points to Lake Superior with boating being a major summertime activity. The boat ramp can accommodate most watercraft. There is no launching fee and ample parking is available.  There is no launching fee and ample parking is available.  The docking fee area is managed by the Ottawa National Forest. For more information or questions please contact the Bessemer Ranger District at 906-932-1330.  Under special use permit, the Black River Harbor Boating Club offers boat fuel for sale.  Their hours will be clearly posted on site. They also operate the boat waste water pump out system.


The North Country Trail travels through the heart of the Black River Harbor Recreation Area.  The trail head is located at the parking lot of Conglomerate Falls and travels north along the Black River into the Harbor and across a suspension bridge.  The trail then turns south along the Black River to Rainbow Falls and then east towards Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

There are several opportunities for short hikes within the Black River Harbor Recreation Area.  You can take any of the five short (1/4 – 3/4 mile) trails to the waterfalls which are all accessible from paved parking lots.  If you prefer to make it more of a day you can access the North Country Trail at the trail head at the north end of Copper Peak Road and travel north along the Black River and view the waterfalls and continue into the Black River Harbor for a 6 mile hike.  If you desire more the North Country Trail continues across our famous suspension bridge and 5.8 miles to the edge of Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park.


The Black River Harbor Recreation Area Picnic area overlooks the Black River as it runs into the Harbor and on into Lake Superior.


The beach area at Black Harbor is not maintained, however it is sandy with some small stonesshore of Lake Superior. The swimming area is not marked so please use caution, there is no life guard on duty. You can get to the beach by going to the day use area and crossing our famous wood suspension bridge and follow the trail to the lake.

Seasonal Information

Please contact the Bessemer Ranger District at 906-932-1330 for additional information.

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