There are only a handful of waterfalls in Lower Michigan compared to the hundreds of waterfalls found in the Upper Michigan Peninsula.
In fact, many people consider just ONE waterfall, specifically Ocqueoc Falls, as the only waterfall in this area worth visiting.
In this post, I’ll guide you through all your options if you’re chasing waterfalls in lower Michigan.
Ocqueoc Falls: The ONLY Waterfalls in Lower Michigan Worth Visiting
Ocqueoc Falls, pronounced Ah-kee-ahk, is located in Presque Isle County of Northeastern Michigan. It is considered the largest waterfall in Michigan, even if it drops only a measly five feet.
As 1 of 2 only waterfalls in lower Michigan, Ocqueoc Falls is significantly more popular because it is publicly-owned and open to the public.
Several reasons why people love Ocqueoc Falls include:
- No huge effort, but big payoff. Getting to the waterfall doesn’t require hours of hiking. It’s super-easy to reach and even wheelchair-accessible.
- Dog-friendly Michigan destination. As long as you keep your dogs leashed on your way to Ocqueoc Falls, you can share this experience with your furbabies.
- Tons of activities in and around Ocqueoc Falls. Aside from marveling at the waterfall, you can also camp, hike, swim, fish, kayak, picnic, bike, and enjoy other outdoor activities.
I’ve talked about Ocqueoc Falls more extensively here. Note that you’ll need a recreation passport or a day pass if you’re interested in visiting Ocqueoc Falls.
How about the Other Waterfalls in Lower Michigan?
There are smaller, man-made waterfalls scattered throughout lower Michigan.
Don’t expect them to be as wow-worthy as Ocqueoc Falls, but if you’re looking for dams, springs, and other water features similar to a waterfall, here are your options in the lower Michigan area.
- Rockford Dam, shown above, is located very near downtown Rockford. It is a perfect spot for sunsets with a relaxing park on both sides of the dam, a diner nearby and even shopping opportunities.
- Other similar attractions (specifically a park with a dam) include Ludington State Park Dam, Frankenmuth’s Cass River Rock Dam, and Peninsular Dam found at Ypsilanti’s Huron River. There is also a dam in the historic tourist town of Fishtown in the Leelanau Peninsula, but instead of gardens, the dam is situated between historic buildings.
- Slayton Arboretum is a 14-acre, privately-owned botanical collection with plenty of trees, gazebos, ponds, waterfalls, rock gardens, and even an amphitheater. It’s located adjacent to the campus of Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, and open to the public.
- Dow Gardens is a well-maintained park in the heart of Midland with many features like ponds, and this manmade waterfall. There’s a fee to get into the park, but if you love nature photography, flowers, and just a piece of quiet pocket of land, then Dow Gardens would be worth the visit.
- Irontone Springs – There is no waterfall at Irontone Springs, but this picturesque park features a babbling stream, and picnic tables with grills & a pavilion. Include this stop if you’re passing by, since it’s super accessible as a roadside park. But if you’re going out of your way to get here, I think it isn’t worth the trip.
- Iargo Springs – Pictured above, Iargo Springs is part of a whimsical park located near the Lumberman Monument. There’s a bit of a hike (via a set of stairs) going to the small spring, but even if it only drops 2-feet, this manmade waterfall-like water feature is still a favorite among locals.
Upper Michigan Waterfalls
As you can see from the map above, all the yellow dots to the upper left and middle make up waterfalls in Upper Michigan. The lonely one on the lower right is the famous Ocqueoc Falls in lower Michigan.
If you’re serious about visiting as many Michigan waterfalls as you can, here are notable upper Michigan waterfalls:
Spray Falls is one of the most remote, so it’s best for those who are looking for a challenging hike. Those who wishes to see this waterfall without the hike can join a Spray Fall cruise and view it rolling 70 feet down the cliffs from a boat.
Near Spray Falls are waterfalls like Miners Falls, Wagner Falls, Sable Falls and Munising Falls.
If you’re only going to visit one waterfall in Upper Michigan, make a trip to the Agate Falls. It is one of the most powerful and picturesque waterfalls in Michigan.
And because it is just near Michigan’s largest state park – the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – you have a lot of activities in store as well. From fishing to camping, hiking the deep glorious forests and exploring over a hundred other smaller waterfalls.
Managed by the U.P. Power Company, Bond Falls is a stunning waterfall in the southern Ontonagon County. It has a developed trail, steps and bridges that make it accessible even for beginner hikers.
Stunning in pictures, but absolutely more gorgeous in real life, Bond Falls drop around 50 feet. You can picnic near the top of the falls, or if you just wish to view, pick from 1 of 6 viewing spots available.
Sable Falls is found at the eastern end of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
This spectacular waterfall tumbles 75 feet over a cascading slope of unique sandstone formations into Lake Superior.
Getting here is easy (there’s a quick trail from the parking area), but if you want the best payoff, go down 168 steps and see how majestic Sable Falls can be from the bottom up.
Other Michigan Stopovers
Those interested in tasting locally-brewed beer everywhere they go, check out my must-visit Grand Rapids brewery recommendations.
If you have more time to explore Michigan, you could also take a day trip to Mackinac Island or visit Lake Huron beaches and other beaches in Michigan.
For those chasing waterfalls across the country, check out my guide on the 8 best waterfalls in the US (including Tahquamenon Falls in Paradise, Michigan).