Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rock River Falls - Michigan

Rock River
Chatham, MI

Among the most secluded as well as the most beautiful falls in Michigan, Rock River Falls is nestled deep in the woods of the Hiawatha National Forest not far from Munising. Getting to these falls is no easy feat, as it requires several miles of driving on poorly marked/unmarked forest roads, then hiking between 1 and 1.5 miles on an at times poorly defined trail, all the while battling mosquitos or whatever seasonal bugs there may be.
These 15 foot falls drop over a limestone shelf into a small pool in a very beautiful forested setting. I don't always feel the reward (falls) is worth the hike we put in - this was one of the times I definitely felt it was! Other than battling mosquitos, the serenity of this place was awesome.
As you can see, large slabs of rock have piled up at the base of the falls - meaning at spring melt and other times the flow here has to be ridiculous. While this would make for beautiful pictures it would also make some of the trek to the falls very difficult.

Getting there: From where M-94 makes a 90 degree bend in Chatham, take Rock River Rd north for four miles. Turn onto Forest Rd 2276, a somewhat well maintained road, after 3.7 miles turn onto Forest Rd 2293, going .6 miles to a small parking area. There is no sign for the falls, and seasonally these roads can get pretty bad - either follow the directions in the Penrose book exactly or have a current National Forest map on hand to be sure. The hiking trail starts out wide like an old road but goes to crap after that - at times quite muddy and swampy.

Overall: Great
Hike: Difficult

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