Gabbro Falls Ironwood, Michigan

Top 10 Spring Waterfalls in the Western U.P.

If you love waterfall hunting, then the Western U.P. and Iron County, Wisconsin are the perfect place to explore magnificent waterfalls. The ancient ranges and gorges carved by these waters are a must see! 

 Any time of year is a great time to check out waterfalls, but if you want to see them at the most powerful and awe-inspiring time, spring is definitely the time of year to plan your waterfall itinerary. 

 With all activities in the remote wilderness, make sure someone knows where you plan on going, and make sure you stay on designated paths. Do not ever attempt to cross barriers, rivers, or stand on cliff ledges. Areas around waterfalls can be coated with ice, snow, and mud so hike carefully. 

Here are the top 10 waterfalls that will impress and inspire you!

10. Interstate Falls

Starting off the list is Interstate Falls right over the border in Wisconsin and located only a few miles from downtown Ironwood. Yes, we are that close to WI😊.  

Heading west on U.S. Highway 2, from Ironwood, you’ll come to a roundabout (the first one in our area, so if you see someone going around and around that is why!;) Look for the Interstate Falls sign on the right, turn down the dirt road. Keep going straight, and you’ll see the parking lot with a kiosk, map, and picnic table. It is an easy .4-mile hike. You will reach a viewing platform to take in this beautiful waterfall.

9. Saxon Falls

Stay on the Wisconsin side to check out, the must see, Saxon Falls. Heading west on U.S.2, you will drive about 10 minutes until you reach County Highway B. Take a right and head north. Once you reach Niemi Road take a left and then a right onto Saxon Falls Road. Follow the signs and stay left to go down a dirt road hill. Park in the parking lot and hike a short distance to see the Falls from the top! These falls are part of the Excel Energy dam and are very powerful!

8. Superior Falls

Just a little way down river is Superior Falls. Head north on Lake Road, and the falls are about 7 miles past Little Girls Point.  Approaching from the Wisconsin side, head east, and the falls are about 1 mile from the Saxon Harbor turn off. Once there, park at the second parking area, and head down the steep hill facing Lake Superior. Take a sharp left and head upstream, past the Xcel pipes and onto the path. You will reach the base of the falls for an amazing view within the canyon! 

7. Gabbro Falls

Head east on US2 to find Gabbro Falls at the Blackjack Ski Resort. To view from the top, drive all the way to the ski chalet and take a left up the hill. Once you see a small marker on the left side, park on the road and hike in. You will hear the falls as they are right by the road. Use extreme caution while approaching these falls. The rocks are slippery and there are no barriers or platforms for viewing. If you prefer a longer hike, park at the bridge before you reach the chalet and hike along the river to view the falls from the bottom. Just be ready for a wet and muddy hike in the spring. The high levels of the river will make the path narrow so be careful.

6. Conglomerate Falls

Heading down the Black River Scenic Byway is a MUST. You will start out with Conglomerate Falls. This is about a quarter of a mile hike and is fairly easy. There are some steps as you get to the viewing platform. This waterfall is beautiful and worth the hike! In the spring there may still be snow on the ground as this waterfall is the furthest away from the Lake.

4. & 5. Potawatomi and Gorge Falls

A little way down the road you will find Potawatomi and Gorge Falls. If snow is present you may have to park near the road and hike in, which is a fairly easy ½ mile walk. The falls are close together with 4 different viewing platforms. #1 and #4 are perfect views of each of these unique waterfalls.

3. Sandstone Falls

Continuing down the Scenic Byway, and not far from Potawatomi and Gorge is Sandstone Falls. This is a ¼ mile hike with stairs. This waterfall is not like the other 4 as it isn’t a huge drop, but it has its own stunning beauty and unique rock formations.

2. Rainbow Falls (West side)

#2 Down Black River Road from Sandstone Falls, you will see the sign for Rainbow Falls. This is about a ½ mile hike with many stairs, so be prepared! From the viewing platform you will be right next to this dramatic waterfall. When the sun hits it just right you will see a rainbow! As you view the waterfall you will feel the spray and experience its power. Make sure you stay on the designated trail.

1. Rainbow Falls (East Side)

Continuing down the Black River Scenic Byway, you will arrive at Black River Harbor. From here you can hike across the bridge and onto the North Country Trail. It is about a ¾ of a mile to the other side of Rainbow Falls! This hike is through ancient old growth forest with some stairs. You will hear the waterfall as you get close and see the viewing platform that you were just on! This view of Rainbow Falls is completely unobstructed and magnificent. As always, use caution on slippery rocks. There is no barrier on this side, so stay back from the edge.

There you have it! Your waterfall hunting guide for an unforgettable waterfall chasing experience in the Western U.P. of Michigan!

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