Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ocqueoc Falls

Ocqueoc River
Onaway, MI

As the only name waterfall in the Lower Peninsula, Ocqueoc Falls has a lot to live up to - and it delivers, with several stunning drops as the river winds its way past a recently improved state forest recreation area. The improvements include a larger, paved parking lot, miles of signed hiking trails and full handicap access to the falls via a path and ramp! The short trail puts you in immediate view of two of the larger drops, both are break of a couple feet on this rushing river:

If you follow the handicap ramp up, then look for a grass and dirt trail that heads downstream, a 2-3 minute hike will give you a look at yet another drop:

Followed by this stunning look at multiple drops of a few feet each spread out over about a hundred foot length of river:

Nestled in the shade of trees while right along the riverbank, this is a very serene spot and a chance to reflect on the power of this river - when we visited October 2012, we noticed several large fish trying to make the jump upstream (see video below). To give you an idea of how close the handicap access ramp puts you to the river and the falls:

If you head back out to Ocqueoc Falls Rd., and continue on west past the drive for the falls, there is a narrow bridge. Park anywhere near here and walk back for a view of another set of falls, narrow as it winds its way through what appears to be an old bridge:
Both visits I have made to these falls have found high water levels and a very enjoyable waterfall experience (June 2010 and October 2012).

Getting there: From the east and US-23, turn west onto M-68 and follow it about 12 miles, then turn right on Ocqueoc Falls Hwy. and make the short trip to the Bicentennial Pathway parking area on the right (before crossing the river). From the west (Onaway) take M-68 east about 7 miles, head north on S. Ocqueoc Rd then after 2-3 miles take a right onto Ocqueoc Falls Hwy and look for the parking lot on the left. There is also a small state forest campground on the opposite side of the road. A state recreation passport is required for entry.

Hike: Easy
Overall: Great

Friday, October 5, 2012

Siskiwit Falls - Wisconsin

Siskiwit River
Cornucopia, WI

The Siskiwit River makes a series of beautiful drops on both sides of a road named for its falls just outside the town of Cornucopia. The falls are classified as slide falls, as the river thinly drops over sections of rock up to 20 feet in length upstream and downstream of the bridge. The falls shown above are below the bridge, closer to Lake Superior. Here is a close view of the upstream falls:
The trails in this heavily forested area are narrow, thickly overgrown and would be considerably harder to traverse after recent rain. We saw several signs of wildlife in the area, most notably this snapping turtle hiding near a log by the upper slide:
This is a great place to spend some time and really take in the "waterfall experience." You're never more than a quarter mile from the road, and never out of sight of the river. With its many drops and slides, it is a great location for photography.

Getting there: From Highway 13 along the Superior shore of WI, take County Rd C south to Siskiwit Falls Rd., turn left and watch for a bridge (the road is not very long and this is the only bridge) - park on the side of the road near here and look for trails on both sides of the road, as well as both banks of the river.

Overall: Good
Hike: Moderate

A big thanks to Pat Lisi's book, my first info on the falls was found here: