Hiking Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Chapel Falls, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, A Unique Waterfall

This summer I took a trip to Michigan’s upper peninsula to visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This is an area rich with scenery, including numerous waterfalls. In another post, I covered Mosquito Falls, a waterfall accessible by foot in the Chapel Basin area. This is part two of that adventure. Chapel Falls, the other and larger waterfall in the area, starts from the same parking area.

To access both waterfalls, park in the Chapel Basin parking lot. The road to the parking lot is dirt and can be pretty rough in sections. I originally saw this information on the park’s website and I can now personally attest, this parking lot fills up fast so getting there early is recommended. Numerous hikes, including one of the more popular 10-mile hikes, begins from this parking lot. Remember that dogs are not allowed anywhere in the Chapel Basin.

This hike follows the highlighted portion of the trail.

Chapel Falls Trail

Length: 2.5 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Easy
Description: This relatively flat and wide trail leads from the parking area to 60-foot-high Chapel Falls

The trail follows an old roadbed, which explains why it’s so wide and flat. This trail is gorgeous. It’s surrounded on all sides by tall trees. This picture was taken in early summer so the forest was green, lush, and bountiful.

Ferns line the path in some sections.

The trail has a few gentle hills on the way to the waterfall. After a pleasant hike, you arrive at Chapel Falls.

The first thing I noticed about the falls was how it is less of a falls and more of a water slide. The water flowed downward along the rock rather than cascading over the edge of a cliff. It’s one of the more unique falls I’ve ever seen.

The water enjoying this ride slides 60 feet down into Chapel Lake below.

The trail allows for several vantage points, including a view from behind the falls and a platform down a short flight of stairs. After starting with the smaller Mosquito falls, Chapel Falls did not disappoint.

After enjoying the falls, we turned around to head back the way we came. You could instead continue beyond the falls on the 10 mile loop. If you get the chance, I’ve heard this loop is spectacular and follows along the tops of the Pictured Rocks cliffs.

On the way back we met a small friend posing for a picture. Probably more likely he was acting as a lookout, but I like to think we were friends.

Overall, I highly recommend a visit to this waterfall. The walk is short yet pleasant, and the waterfall is stunning and unique.

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