Go Waterfalling says that O Kun de Kun Falls
O Kun de Kun Falls is one of the largest of the waterfalls in Ontanagon county. It is not as large as Bond Falls or Agate Falls, but it is just as scenic and far wilder. It is a mile plus hike to O Kun de Kun Falls and there are no fences or signs. The waterfall is also unusual in that it is an actual plunge falls. Only a handful of the many waterfalls around Lake Superior are plunge falls. You can go behind the falls if you want, but you need to be careful and sure footed.
The trail head to the falls is located on the east side of US 45 about 8 miles north of Bruce Crossing. There are signs for the parking area. The trail to the falls is part of the North Country Trail. It is a 1.3 mile fairly level hike to the falls. Before you reach the main falls you will reach a smaller 10′ plunge upstream. Keep going! The first time I tried to visit O Kun de Kun I stopped at the upper falls, thinking I had reached my destination. The real falls is just a short distance downstream. The trail crosses a suspension bridge below the falls. If you have not gone far enough to see the bridge, keep going.
If you’re wondering about the name of the falls, it was after a famous chief. If you’re wondering about the title of this post, Pasty.com explains:
The name “Ontonagon” is derived from the Ojibway word “nontounagon,” which means “I lost my bowl.” Local legend surrounding the name stems from the story that a member of Chief O-Kun-De-Kun’s band was washing bowls near the mouth of the river when she was startled by an unkempt stranger in a canoe. The woman inadvertently dropped one of the bowls into the river and exclaimed “nontounagon”. The white man took her declaration to be a reply to his question about the name of the area.