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Five Great Waterfalls along the Black River National Scenic Byway

black river rainbow falls
Rainbow Falls on the Black River

The Black River begins in Wisconsin and heads north into the Michigan Upper Peninsula and finally empties into Lake Superior. While only 30 miles long, the river drops over a 1000 feet on its way to Lake Superior. The last few hundred feet of this drop are part of the Black River Scenic Parkway that includes hiking trails to five waterfalls, an attractive picnic area, a 40 unit campground, and a boat launch and harbor docking area.

The park also has an extensive sand beach on Lake Superior that also happens to be a premier Agate Hunting Beach.

Rainbow Falls (pictured above) is the highest of the five waterfalls in the park.

Black River Harbor National Scenic Byway Waterfalls

In addition to some of the prettiest waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula, the Black River National Parkway offers some fine hiking trails. The North Country Trail that runs from the Porcupine Mountains enters the Park east of Rainbow Falls, crosses the suspension bridge over the river and then runs along the ridge above the four other waterfalls before continuing West towards Wisconsin. Shorter trails run from parking areas along the Parkway to each of the waterfalls.

Black River National Scenic Byway Waterfalls

Rainbow Falls

stairway to Rainbow Falls

Two shots of Rainbow Falls late May . . . and early October (on right).

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Stairways lead down to viewing platforms by each waterfall.


Here's a video we took of the falls

Sandstone Falls

Sandstone Fallssandstone falls

The next falls upstream from Rainbow Falls is Sandstone Falls. Click on the image for a larger view.


potawatomi falls
Potawatomi Falls
gorge falls
Gorge Falls

Potawatomi & Gorge Waterfalls

The trail to Potawatomi Falls is barrier free, providing an opportunity for people with disabilities to see the falls. Large, old growth hemlock, white pine, and climax forest hardwoods add to the area's beauty. (When these pictures were taken, the trail to Gorge Falls was closed for repair. Since has been re-opened)

Conglomerate Falls

Conglomerate Falls splits into two cascades. In the photo on the right you can clearly see the conglomerate rock that gives the falls its name.

conglomerate falls black river conglomerate falls

Waterfalls at Porcupine Mountains State Park

Take the Parkway back to Bessemer and proceed east on US 2 to Wakefield Michigan where you take Michigan 519 to Presque Isle Park Unit of the Porkies and see the waterfalls along the Presque Isle River.

From there you can take the South Boundary Road to visit several scenic overlooks in Porcupine Mountains State Park.

Piorcupine Mountains Lake of the Clouds

  Porcupine Mountains Summit Peak

  Porcupine Mountains Lake of Clouds Scenic Overlook

  Fall Color Pictures Porcupine Mountains State Park - Reinhold Development - 2023 Mobile-Friendly Lake Superior Circle Tour Travel Planner

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Winter - Michigan UP
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& Campground Directory

Best Camping along Lake Superior.

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Pictured Rocks Cruises

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Michigan Upper Peninsula Waterfalls

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Travel Information

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Lake Superior Circle Tour Road Map & Guide to Travel Attractions around Lake Superior.

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Identifying Lake Superior Agates and Beach Rocks.Lake Superior Agate?

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Scenic Byway - Fall Color.

Best Rock Picking and Agate Hunting Beaches in the Upper Peninsula. grand marais beach and grand sable dunes


Porcupine Mountains Lake of the CloudsPorcupine Mountains State Park was voted #2 Best State Park in the U.S.


Lake Superior Golf Course Reviews
See our Reviews of Michigan Upper Peninsula Golf Courses around Lake Superior.