Saturday, September 21, 2013

Chicagon Falls - Crystal Falls, Mich.

Chicagon Creek
Crystal Falls

Chicagon Falls has become one of my favorite falls in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The falls aren't impressive in size, but the setting is hard to beat. It also took two tries to finally get back to these falls, as we had some outdated directions. With the help of a Bewabic State Park ranger we first reached these falls in 2008, and recently returned in June of 2013.
The trail back to the falls is a decent two-track that leads to a wide area for parking. After that, the traild gets a bit more dicey, and is about a mile in length. We hiked in the first time, and took mountain bikes for our return visit. The creek drops about 10-15 feet here in a slide, and is calm both above and below. You're almost guaranteed to be the only visitors back here, and while there isn't much room to explore due to downed trees and branches, there are still some great vantage points.
This view comes from straddling a large log that crosses the creek, while the view below is from the trail side showing the falls and surrounding area:
Below is a video I shot at the falls back in June, if you're in the area, passing through or staying at Bewabic State Park, don't miss this hidden gem.

Getting there: These are the directions we were given at Bewabic, with a few updates - the Penrose book is out of date on this one! From the entrance of Bewabic State Park on U.S. 2, go .6 miles to Long Lake Road on the right, turn onto that road and follow it for 3.3 miles (you will go around a lake and start to curve as you head uphill). A two track road on the right for "Raymer" is the one you want (to the right of a newer looking house and a recently cleared area), it's a quarter mile in to a widened parking area where you will start to see signs for the falls. Trail is about a mile, walked in 15-20 and biked in 10 minutes.

Overall: Good
Hike: Moderate