Saturday, February 18, 2012

Falls River Falls - L'Anse, Michigan

Falls River
L'Anse, MI

For a pretty good look at the waterfall experience as a whole, the Falls River drops so many times on its way to Lake Superior in L'Anse, MI. The beauty begins at the aptly named Powerhouse Falls:
Nearby, through the woods on the road you drove to in order to get to Powerhouse Falls is another aptly named falls, Power Dam Falls. Here, the river flows over the remnants of an old dam and you can see some of the concrete still remains:

After visiting these to falls, you have to head into town to see the rest of the falls. There is an Upper Falls mentioned in the Penrose book, but due to it being outdated and a lot of development since it's publishing, we found no way to photograph this falls without trespassing. There is a path to the next falls, Unnamed Falls, that we went down, not sure if we were trespassing in someone's backyard or not - I always try and remember to be courteous, and above all, quick.
This isn't a huge drop, but it is spread across the width of the river, making it more impressive. We managed to find a better way to get to the Middle and Lower Falls than what the book had said, Middle Falls just seems to go on and on, while the Lower Falls are actually two sets of falls, one of the "slide" variety, shown below (second photo).
For spending an hour or two in a lovely town on the shore of Lake Superior, you are rewarded with five (six if Upper Falls is included) falls of various size and beauty on just one river. There are many more falls in the area - so pick up a book, brochure, or contact the Tourism Dept. for more info. The amount of waterfalls on the L'Anse/Skanee area rivals, or perhaps outdoes that of Alger County - plus Mt. Arvon, the highest point in Michigan, is along the way to some of the falls and easily accessible!

Getting there: To get to Power House and Power Dam Falls, turn left on to Power Dam Rd. as you head towards L'Anse on US41. The road curves sharply then crosses some RR tracks and there should be signs as you turn onto a trail road. Powerhouse Falls are at the end of the road, and as you head back out, look for a clearing on your right, and follow a lightly worn path into the woods for Power Dam Falls.
We got to Unnamed Falls by taking E. River Rd. (you passed it at the RR tracks) to a washout near where the tracks come back out, parked and walked to the end of a new road and some houses, where we found the trail.
Middle Falls are best viewed from a dirt trail that starts just off 6th St. Park on the street then follow the dirt road, bike paths downstream for Lower Falls and upstream for Middle Falls. The other section of Lower Falls (pic above) is better viewed by parking on the right off US 41 just past the RR tracks, find the trail and walk downstream. I hope to contact the Tourism Dept. and get better directions/access soon for a trip in June.

Overall: Great
Hike: Easy to Moderate

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