Sunday, August 26, 2012

Black Slate Falls and Quartzite Falls - Skanee, Michigan

Slate River
L'Anse, MI

Michigan's Upper Peninsula provides many chances to see multiple waterfalls on the same river not far from each other, and the beautiful falls on the Slate River known as Black Slate Falls and Quartzite Falls are a great example of that. Both are reached from short trails on either of an old bridge on a logging road. The trail to Black Slate Falls is upstream from the bridge, a short walk over pine needles and packed dirt leads to this view:
By taking the downstream trail, which is wider, smoother and features a makeshift campsite, you reach the beautiful Quartzite Falls, where the river drops over slate rock shelves and into a deeper pool at the base:
I took my watershoes along and found one of several shallow crossings, to get a better view from the other side:
Be warned, the rocks here will have you checking multiple times to get a straight photo. A look into the riverbed between the two falls, will show the reason for one of their names, as veins of quartzite glitter under the surface in seemingly endless stretches:
Here is a short video of Black Slate Falls:

And here's one of Quartzite Falls:

Getting there: from L'Anse take Main St. out of town, it becomes Skanee Rd. eventually. Go 11 miles out of town, look for Arvon Rd. on the right and turn there. You're on this road for 3.5-4 miles, looking for a logging road on the left. Shortly after that turn, you should cross the old bridge and park on either side in the turnouts, then follow the trail. According to other directions, the road takes a big turn right and then ends at a slate quarry if you miss the turn onto the logging road.

Overall: Great
Hike: Easy to Moderate

We found these falls through this book, which still has accurate directions many years later. If you're going in search of waterfalls in MI, I consider this book a must-have:

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