Dover Creek tumbles overs a series of falls on its way down to Torch Lake. Two of the falls are around 20 feet high, and the last is a 50 foot drop, which is spectacular when the water is flowing. Unfortunately these falls are often nearly dry in the summer.
There are three falls 15 feet or higher on a half mile stretch of Dover Creek, plus a couple of smaller drops. In the spring time, or after some good rains, these waterfalls are very impressive. Unfortunately the creek has a very small watershed, and the falls are often reduced to trickles.
The three main drops are usually referred to as the upper, middle and lower falls. The upper falls is around 20 feet high. The water spills over an irreguarly shaped cliff into a small gorge.
Downstream of the upper falls is a dam and artificial lake. Below the dam are a couple of smaller drops, and the middle falls. The middle falls is also about 20 feet high, and is perhaps the most scenic in lower water. The cliff face here is smoother, and the water is not segmented the way it is at the upper falls. The middle falls is also the easiest to reach and there are plenty of good viewing spots.
Fayette Historic State Park blends nature and history with a Historic Townsite, a representation of a once-bustling industrial community. Visitors can learn about the town through guided tours and information from the Visitor Center, or simply by walking through the townsite and exploring on their own. Walk through restored buildings like the town hotel and a cabin, built to replicate the homes in which residents of Fayette used to live. Interpretive panels provide information to transport visitors back in time and tell the story of the town.
On the second Saturday of August, the park is transformed back to its glory days with period displays, food and music at the annual Heritage Day.
Scott Falls is one of the easiest waterfalls to access in the Upper Peninsula. It is just east of the Au Train river and right on highway M28. Just across the highway is a roadside park complete with vaulted toilets, water, charcoal grills, picnic tables, and beach access. Scott Falls couldn’t’ be in a more convenient location.
I believe that many of us in the Upper Peninsula have found childhood memories of Scott Falls. Personally, I remember those warm summer days when my mother would take us for a swim at the roadside park. Of course we would be covered in sand from walking up the beach afterward, so mom would take us across the road and make us rinse off in Scott Falls. We would play in the water and have an adventure in the cave behind the falls. As a kid, sitting in that cave when the train comes through is amazing! I’m sure that many of us have shared similar experiences.
This scenic waterfall is nestled amongst virgin pine and hemlock trees. There is a small parking area and a half-mile trail with an observation deck overlooking the falls.
Yet another can’t miss it thing in an area that’s filled with can’t miss it things, Wagner Falls lends itself to a very easy and short hike through the woods. While the picturesque falls take the cake, plethora of wild flowers along and off the trails (through Spring, Summer and may be even Fall; e.g., Gay Wings, Trout Lily) are an added bonus!
In 1897, the Mineral Range Railroad Company built a new iron swing type bridge, replacing the old wooden bridge. This bridge also featured a two lane roadway, with a railroad crossing underneath. New reconstructed support cribs were also sunk. But on August 15, 1905, disaster struck, when the steamer Northern Wave (Mutual Transit Lines), en route to the Quincy Smelter to pick up copper ingots, smashed into the center section, destroying much of it. The mishap was apparently caused by a mixup in signals.
The bridge would be replaced one year later, again with an iron bridge, and center swing section, and a control house above the roadway, over the center turnstile. This new bridge would have 118 ft. of clearance on the north maritime passage, and 108 ft. on the south side passage. (Newspaper accounts of the period, gave maritime traffic at 6,000 bridge openings per year, and up to 40 daily train crossings per day, both of which began to taper off by 1920). Although almost struck again in 1940 by the Steamer Maritana (Hutchenson Lines), it narrowly avoided the collision by dropping its anchors which caught the submarine telephone cables, stopping it just short of the bridge. (This would happen again 20 years later). Light signaling was added during WWII, to augment the steam whistles already in use. The bridge served the communities until 1960.
In the late 1950s, the Michigan Department of Transportation began studies on how best to replace the aging bridge, with a more modern one, that would accommodate the now much larger ships plying the waterway. It was decided to build what would be become the worlds heaviest aerial lift bridge, which was under construction by 1959, just to the West of the then current bridge. This new bridge, with 4 traffic lanes above, and a railroad crossing below, had its ribbon cutting on Saturday, June 25, 1960. But it almost didn’t happen. During the night before, the Steamer J.F. Schoelkoff (American Steamship Company), traveling westward, signaled for the bridge to open, but the signals were not acted on. Dropping all their anchors, they snagged the submarine telephone cables in an eerie repeat of 20 years previously. Onlookers for the ribbon cutting ceremonies were treated to the spectacle of a large freighter jammed crossways in the waterway, just a quarter mile from the Bridge. Area phone service was disrupted for nearly three days. Telephone service to the bridge, and marine radios were installed shortly. That incident not withstanding, the new Portage Lake Lift Bridge continues to well serve the area, as the possibility of adding yet another new bridge may be explored.
One of the coolest things for me about making Michigan in Pictures is when I come across something in Michigan that there’s little to no information about online.
Such is the case with Root Beer Falls (map), a roughly 8′ waterfall that is located a couple of miles north of Wakefield in Gogebic County. “Rootbeer Falls” is also a name for the Tahquamenon Falls, and one would assume that the same tannins that give Tahquamenon their rich, brown color are at work here.
Douglas Feltman posted this sweet time-lapse video from Root Beer Falls last fall, saying that this small drop on Planter Creek is fed by overflow from Sunday Lake in Wakefield, just a quick walk through the woods from Wertanen Road. He has 49 more Michigan waterfall videos as well!
The photographer, David Hedquist, is the author of Waterfalling in Wisconsin and has told me he’s working on a Michigan book, so stay tuned! Sorry- I misremembered. David is NOT working on a new book. He did share that Phil Stagg of Waterfalls of Michiganis writing books though!
Tahquamenon Falls State Park encompasses close to 50,000 acres stretching over 13 miles. Most of this is undeveloped woodland without roads, buildings or power lines. The centerpiece of the park, and the very reason for its existence, is the Tahquamenon River with its waterfalls. The Upper Falls is one the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. It has a drop of nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. A maximum flow of more than 50,000 gallons of water per second has been recorded cascading over these falls.
…This is the land of Longfellow’s Hiawatha – “by the rushing Tahquamenaw” Hiawatha built his canoe. Long before the white man set eyes on the river, the abundance of fish in its waters and animals along its shores attracted the Ojibwa Indians, who camped, farmed, fished and trapped along its banks. In the late 1800’s came the lumber barons and the river carried their logs by the millions to the mills. Lumberjacks, who harvested the tall timber, were among the first permanent white settlers in the area.
Rising from springs north of McMillan, the Tahquamenon River drains the watershed of an area of more than 790 square miles. From its source, it meanders 94 miles before emptying into Whitefish Bay. The amber color of the water is caused by tannins leached from the Cedar, Spruce and Hemlock in the swamps drained by the river. The extremely soft water churned by the action of the falls causes the large amounts of foam, which has been the trademark of the Tahquamenon since the days of the voyager.