Waterfall Hunting in the Upper Peninsula

Ripley Falls

Ripley Falls, photo by We Are CS.

It’s probably fitting that I came to today’s post in a roundabout fashion. I was checking out UPLiving.com, a new addition to Absolute Michigan. On their photo page I saw this gorgeous photo of Ripley Falls. A quick check of The Google found a page on the Hiawatha National Forest site that itself seemed lost from their waterfalls page titled
115 Waterfalls of Michigan’s U.P.:

It’s been said there are two things man never tires of watching – fire and falling water. Hence the fascination of fireplaces and waterfalls. Fireplaces, fortunately, are found everywhere in the land. But waterfalls are found only in very special parts of the land. One of these is Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. There are more than 150 waterfalls across the length and breadth of this rugged peninsula – enough to satisfy any collector of cascades. Some are tall and stately like the Laughing Whitefish. Some are broad and massive like the mighty Tahquamenon. All are spectacles of white splendor … A few of the Upper Peninsula’s falls are located conveniently along well-traveled highways. More often the falls are the dramatic climax to a rewarding hike through the woods and in every case they are well worth the effort involved in getting there. Some waterfalls are located on private property permission should be secured from the owner to cross the property. When large land holders such as paper, utility, mining, and forest companies are involved, the public is usually welcome to use the forest lands, unless posted against entry.

Ripley Falls was listed as #42 with just the terse note Ripley Falls, on Ripley Creek behind school of Ripley. Springtime flow only.. The Keweenaw Local Resource Guide has better directions, but still not much to say.

Then I stumbled onto Wayne Premo’s Waterfalls from Hunt’s Guide to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Wayne tells the tale of how he lost the Michigamme Falls and then says:

As an adult I started to explore the Upper Peninsula further. The state’s Department of Natural Resources county maps became my guide. All the squiggles marking falls became increasingly intriguing. Would any of these be as impressive as Michigamme Falls, the one I had lost? I charted my plan of attack.

My goal was to search out every squiggle and photograph it, so that then I would have seen every waterfall of consequence in the Upper Peninsula. At the time, I was in no hurry and the task did not appear formidable.

Michigan WaterfallsSo go to Hunt’s Guide and read Wayne’s tale and check out some of the waterfalls he has photographed. Then think about bagging a few waterfalls this year. You can click the photo to the right to go on a Flickr tour of Michigan waterfalls.

And after all this, what does Wayne say about Ripley Falls? Only that it’s one of the few falls not on the DNR maps.


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