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


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