7 waterfalls in Michigan you can actually swim in

7 waterfalls in Michigan you can actually swim in

Photo courtesy of Attila Nagy/CC BY 2.5.

By Britteny Dee

June 4, 2024

Michigan is known for its lakes (it’s nicknamed the Great Lakes State after all), but it’s also home to tons of rivers, streams, ponds, and more. In fact, in Michigan, you’re never more than six miles from a body of water. Additionally, there are about 300 waterfalls in Michigan, many of which you can swim in and around.

We can’t think of a better way to explore Michigan’s natural beauty than to hike to one of these waterfalls and dive in afterward to cool off. If this sounds like your ideal way to spend a summer day, keep reading to discover the best waterfalls in Michigan you can take a dip in.

Ocqueoc Falls

As the largest waterfall in the Lower Peninsula, Ocqueoc Falls is a must-visit. Ocqueoc Falls, located in Presque Isle County, is also the only universally accessible waterfall in the U.S., so explorers of all ages and abilities will have no problem getting there. From the nearby parking lot, there’s a wide, level trail that leads to the falls. You can use the deck ramp to access the water or a set of tiered rocks.

Those looking to work up more of a sweat before taking the plunge can first explore one of several hiking loops that range from about three to six miles in length. However you choose to get there, Ocqueoc Falls is a sight to behold. The waterfall cascades over several ledges and drops about five feet to the pool where you can swim.

Thanks to its accessibility and the surrounding trails, Ocqueoc Falls can get a bit busy but it’s not so crowded that it’ll ruin your experience. If you want to make this excursion an overnight trip, check out Ocqueoc Falls State Forest Campground. The entrance to the campground is across the street from the falls’ parking lot, and there are sites for tents and small trailers.

Lower Tahquamenon Falls

Upper Tahquamenon Falls might be the most famous of the Tahquamenon Falls thanks to its size (the largest waterfall in Michigan, at about 200 feet wide with a 50-foot drop) but if you want to swim, you’ll need to head to Lower Tahquamenon Falls, about four miles downstream. Lower Tahquamenon Falls consists of five falls that cascade around a five-acre island. The falls create several natural swimming holes perfect for splashing around in.

A new pedestrian bridge to the island installed in 2022 makes it easy to get to the island. But, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a canoe or rowboat and explore the river below the falls or go for a hike around the island to enjoy 360-degree views of the falls and the Tahquamenon River.

Nearby Tahquamenon Falls State Park is also worth a visit. The 48,000-acre park features 35 miles of trails and several overlooks with incredible views of the Upper and Lower Falls. Both the park and the falls are popular tourist attractions, but again, even when busy, you won’t feel like they’re overcrowded.

Dead River Falls

You’ll have to head off the beaten path to get to Marquette’s Dead River Falls, but the trek will be worth it. From the designated parking area, you’ll hike along the river bank for about a mile before reaching the falls. Nestled in a rocky gorge about a half-mile wide, the falls drop about 100 feet in total, resulting in a truly stunning sight to see.

There are multiple spots to stop and swim along the Dead River Falls trail, but most agree the best is the first major plunge waterfall. If you keep going, the last waterfall in the Dead River Falls series ends at another great pool, though it’s worth noting the trail leading here becomes a bit more challenging.

Dead River Falls is surrounded by a dense forest, making it a peaceful and picturesque place to visit.

Canyon Falls

Adventure seekers looking to challenge their athletic abilities should consider a trip to Canyon Falls. Not only can you swim throughout the gorge and around the waterfalls, nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of the UP,” but you can also go cliff diving.

The falls are located along the Sturgeon River, about an hour west of Marquette, and you’ll start your journey at the trailhead at Canyon Falls Roadside Park. After about a 15-minute scenic walk, during which you can view some rapids and smaller falls, you’ll reach your destination. The main waterfall is about 30 feet tall, and the gorge is about 300 feet deep.

Scott Falls

For a peaceful swim without all the hiking, check out Scott Falls, located right across the road from ​​H.J. Rathfoot State Roadside Park near Au Train. Scott Falls is super accessible no matter your athletic ability or age. Scott Falls flows about 10 feet over a sandstone ledge into a small pool where you can splash around. It’s a unique destination because you can actually sit behind the waterfall and watch the water pour into the pool.

Scott Falls is a great option if you have kids or want to limit the amount of physical activity involved in your waterfall hunt.

7 waterfalls in Michigan you can actually swim in

Photo courtesy of NMMIMAJ/CC BY-SA 3.0.

Bond Falls

At 100 feet wide with a total drop of about 50 feet, Bond Falls is an impressive waterfall and one of the most popular to visit in the Upper Peninsula. Located near Paulding, Bond Falls are actually man-made (the result of damming the Ontonagon River), but they’re breathtakingly beautiful nonetheless.

Beneath the falls is a shallow pool perfect for a refreshing dip. You can easily access the swimming area via a boardwalk, which also features a few viewing platforms.

7 waterfalls in Michigan you can actually swim in

Public domain photo.

Hungarian Falls

Located in Hubbell, Hungarian Falls is another Michigan waterfall worth chasing. It’s split into three sections — Upper, Middle, and Lower — and for those looking to hop in the water, Middle Falls is the place to do so. The hike to Middle Falls is moderately difficult, but the views along the way make it worth the effort.

Middle Falls drops about 25 feet over sandstone ledges into the pool, which is great for swimming or wading and is surrounded by hemlock and white pine forest. If you have time, continue down to Lower Falls, the most mesmerizing of the Hungarian Falls. Getting to Lower Falls is more challenging than the Upper and Middle Falls, but watching the water tumble 50 feet down the sheer cliff face is truly a special treat.

7 waterfalls in Michigan you can actually swim in

Photo courtesy of Fondycardinals/CC BY-SA 4.0.

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.7 waterfalls in Michigan you can actually swim in7 waterfalls in Michigan you can actually swim in




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