Lately I’ve been covering my trip to the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I’ve covered a bunch of waterfalls (Presque Isle Waterfalls, Union Mine Trail Waterfalls, Overlooked and Greenstone Waterfalls). I’ve also covered a gorgeous lake and a ridge hike. Despite covering all of that, I haven’t covered anything resembling a mountain. The area is called the Porcupine Mountains, after all.
At this point you might be saying, “but the Midwest doesn’t have any mountains.” While it’s true that the Midwest is not home to any of the more impressive peaks, smaller mountains are everywhere, depending on your definition. I’m prefacing this by saying that I am not a geologist, but it turns out there is no universally accepted definition of a common term like a “mountain” or “hill.” Until the 1970’s, the US used the definition that a mountain was land differentiated by 1,000 feet of local relief. I’ve also seen organizations that define a mountain as anything above 2,000 feet of local relief or more, and others that consider the angles and definitions of the slope and peak. So basically, whatever you define a mountain as is both right and wrong!
I’ve been talking about waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan a lot lately. It makes sense when covering a nature focused trip where 300+ waterfalls call this peninsula home. Narrowing it down, you can see an abundance of waterfalls in one park alone, the Porcupine Mountains. So far I’ve covered two hikes full of falls in the park: the Presque Isle River Waterfalls and the Union Mine Trail. If you want to see a bunch of falls in a short hike, then these two trails are for you.
The hike I’m covering today is the last of the waterfalls I saw on this trip. These falls fall (ha!) somewhere between the two other groups. They are larger than the Union Mine falls, and smaller than the Presque Isle falls. They are less visited than the Presque Isle Falls, and more visited than the Union Mine Falls. They hit a sweet spot of size and seclusion.
If you like waterfalls, then a trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula might be the trip for you. An area rich with waterfalls, it is home to more than 300 falls across the region. The Porcupine Mountains contain some 50+ of those.
Last time I covered the three largest falls in the park, the Presque Isle River Falls, which drop 15-25 feet in a short distance before dumping into Lake Superior. While these falls are the most impressive in the park, they are also the most photographed and the most visited. If you’re looking for something a little more private, then the waterfalls along the Union Mine Trail might be a better option.
Do you happen to also like history? More specifically, the mining history that helped build the region? If so, then this trail is really for you. (History and waterfalls in one!)
Where are we? The Union Mine Trail, technically the Union Mine Interpretive Trail, can be found on the eastern side of the park, just south of the intersection of the two main roads, South Boundary Road and Highway 107. The area is circled in red on the map.
Last time I began to recap our adventure in Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains. This weeklong adventure was full of hiking, camping, and appreciation of nature’s beauty in Michigan’s largest state park. In case you missed it, check out the recap of a must do trail and must see scenic overlook, Lake of the Clouds and the Escarpment Trail.
Part of that appreciation for nature’s beauty I mentioned came in the form of waterfall viewing. This area has an abundance of waterfalls. In fact, the entire upper peninsula is rich with waterfalls, clocking in at 300+ falls of all sizes across the region, with the largest being the beautiful Tahquamenon Falls in the northeastern part of the peninsula. The Porcupine Mountains themselves have 50+ falls of all sizes. Today we will focus on three of them, including the largest one in the park, Manabezho Falls
Where in the world are we? This post focuses on the Presque Isle River Waterfalls, which are near the Presque Isle Campground on the western side of the park. (At the end of County Rd. 519)
Last summer I was lucky enough to spend a week hiking, camping, and exploring in the Porcupine Mountains. Located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park as it’s officially known is Michigan’s largest state park with a whopping size of 60,000 acres. If you love hiking, this destination is for you. With over 90 miles of trails in the park, there is a trail for everyone to explore.
Having covered a lot of ground (quite literally,) I’m going to spend the next few posts recapping and looking back on the hikes I did and how we camped in this stunning and massive park.
I start the adventure recap with my personal favorite hike in the park, the Escarpment Trail.
I’ll be honest, the Kettle Moraine forest is kind of overwhelming to me. It’s so large and has so many different campgrounds and trail systems, I never feel like I know where I’m going or what I’m doing. When I make the choice to explore it, I just pick a place, do minimal research, and try it out. That’s how I ended up here, at Pike Lake!
The Kettle Moraine State Forest, or “the kettles,” is broken up into two units; the northern unit and the southern unit. The focal point of this trip, Pike Lake, is located in the northern unit, just outside the town of Hartford, WI. Covering more than 30,000 acres, the northern unit is the larger of the two and has some form of recreation for just about anyone. The Pike Lake Unit is only 678 acres of that 30,000 acres. See? Overwhelming!