It’s no secret that Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to some truly unique and wonderful natural beauty. In particular, Bond Falls is one of the many waterfalls in Michigan that are worth visiting.
Situated in the Western Upper Peninsula in Ontonagon County, Bond Falls is located in the middle branch of the Ontonagon River.
Whether you want to take in the wonder of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, explore Mackinac Island, or head to Kitch-iti-kipi — Michigan’s largest freshwater spring — there’s no shortage of amazing things to see in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Bond Falls | A Site to Behold
The Bond Falls Scenic Site in Michigan is located in southern Ontonagon County and is open year-round. You can easily find it by heading south from Ontonagon on US-45, which is about a 45-minute drive. It’s officially located in Haight Township, a few miles east of Paulding.
It wasn’t nearly as crowded as Tahquamenon Falls, but I was still surprised at how popular it seemed to be. It’s way out in the Western Upper Peninsula, after all, near Watersmeet (home of the Nimrods) and Paulding (home of the Paulding Mystery Light).
The waterfall itself isn’t a natural waterfall and forms as a result of a nearby dam operated by the Upper Peninsula Power Company. Usually, you can see anglers in the flowage above the dam trying their hand at catching stocked trout.
The Sheer Size
The total drop of the falls is roughly 50 feet, and it stretches more than 100 feet wide. There’s a picnic area atop the falls that leads down to multiple trails where you can get closer.
Also, you can get a perfect view of the falls via a 600-foot boardwalk that leads across the river to the base of the falls. You can observe the waterfall at a rest area below the waterfall and dam as well.
No matter the time of year you visit, the falls are a sight to behold. The water freezes in the wintertime, turning Bond Falls into one of Michigan’s dazzling frozen waterfalls.
Things to Do Near Bond Falls
You can certainly spend many hours checking out Bond Falls. But there are also many great scenic spots worth going to if you’re in the area.
One spot that’s a must-see is Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Locally known as the Porkies, these mountains stretch across Ontonagon and Gogebic counties near the Lake Superior shoreline. The park spans 31,000 acres and has the oldest growth of northern hardwood forest.
The Lake of the Clouds, which sits between two ridges in a valley in the mountains, is a popular tourist attraction. Hikers, fishermen, and campers visit for the stunning wilderness. Nature enthusiasts visit for amazing views, including the Lake of the Clouds Overlook of the former M-107.
There’s an occasional nighttime skywatch at the lake, offering quite a view of the water and stars above.
Restaurants Near Bond Falls
If you’re looking for something to nosh on after a day of exploring Bond Falls, your best bet is to head into Ontanagon for some delicious eats.
If it’s your first time in the Upper Peninsula, you absolutely need to try a pasty. This delightful concoction is a mix of beef, potatoes, and rutabaga wrapped in a delicious flaky crust. Several of the best pasty shops in Michigan are located nearby.
For instance, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Syl’s Cafe. It serves traditional pasties, which you can get with or without coleslaw. You can also get a delicious breakfast there.
The Little Cookie Store in Ontonagon is worth the stop too. As the name implies, the store sells baked goods. But it also has pasties, which are big and full of flavor.
Roxey’s Bar and Grill
Another great restaurant is Roxey’s Bar and Grill. Here, you’ll find tasty munchies and delicious sandwiches and burgers. You can even order some cold, delicious beer, which can be the perfect way to cap off a Bond Falls adventure on a hot summer day.
Places to Stay Close to Bond Falls
If you’re planning a trip to see Bond Falls or other nearby waterfalls, there are plenty of places to stay.
Running Bear Resort
Consider staying at Running Bear Resort, which is located in Ottawa National Forest in Paulding. These cabins are open all year and offer access to the falls, fishing lakes and streams, and hiking trails.
Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort
Another great spot is Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort in Watersmeet, which offers rustic lakeside cabin stays. You get access to free Wi-Fi, a full kitchen, and a bait shop with boat rentals. In Watersmeet, you’re less than 20 minutes from Bond Falls, and it’s more or less a straight shot up US-45.
Northern Waters Casino Resort
The Northern Waters Casino Resort in Watersmeet offers the best of all worlds. You get access to comfortable rooms, 24-hour gaming, delicious dining, and 18 holes of golf.
More Waterfalls to Visit in Michigan’s Upper Michigan
If you’re on a mission to explore other Michigan waterfalls, the Western Upper Peninsula has you covered. Here are a few that we recommend.
Agate Falls Scenic Site
About 20 minutes from Bond Falls on M-28, the Agate Falls Scenic Site is also in the Middle Branch of the Ontanogan River. It’s 39 feet high, and you can see it from a parking lot located on M-28 or from a railroad bridge that spans the length of the falls.
Another hidden gem worth checking out is Bonanza Falls. It’s located just down the road from the Porcupine Mountains and features multiple drops, although none are more than 10 feet.
The angled slabs of slate create multiple drops and fantastic pictures. It’s not uncommon for visitors to see bears, deer, eagles, and other animals while visiting the falls.
Waterfalls in the Porcupine Mountains
On the western edge of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is the Presque Isle River. This river is home to three majestic waterfalls — Manido, Manabezho, and Nawadaha — all of which are easy to reach from a nearby parking lot. And, you get a good view from a viewing platform.
O Kun de Kun Falls
The O Kun de Kun Falls in Ontonagon County is also worth checking out. The waterfall is among the wildest of all the scenic falls in the county, as well as one of the largest. While not as big as Bond Falls, it’s plenty scenic and untamed.
Getting there requires a hike of more than 1 mile since there are no fences or signs around. It’s a plunging waterfall, and if you’re sure-footed and careful, you can actually go behind it. Take US-45, and head about 8 miles north of Bruce Crossing. There’s a parking area, and the trail is part of the North Country Trail.
If you’re headed toward the east side of the Upper Peninsula on your way home, you absolutely need to stop by Tahquamenon Falls. Located between Newberry and Paradise, you’ll actually find two magnificent falls.
The Upper Falls has a drop of 48 feet and is more than 200 feet across. The water has a notable brown color from the tannins of the cedar swamps that drain into the Tahquamenon River. The Lower Falls are located 4 miles downstream and are a series of five small cascades around an island.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bond Falls MI
Where are the Bond Falls in the UP?
The Bond Falls Scenic Site is located in Haight Township in Ontonagon County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, just a few miles east of Paulding.
What city is Bond Falls in Michigan?
The waterfall is located in Haight Township in the Western Upper Peninsula.
How far from Bond Falls to the Porcupine Mountains?
Bond Falls is just over one hour from the Porcupine Mountains. You can easily get there via M-64 South and M-28 East. At Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, you can see several other waterfalls.
Do you have to pay to walk Bond Falls Michigan?
The Bond Falls Scenic Site is a Michigan State Park, so you need to have a Michigan recreation passport to park there. The entrance has a self-registration station, so you can register to purchase one.
Free roadside parking is available near the Bond Falls outpost. But you’ll need to hike down from the top of the falls for the scenic views.
Are dogs allowed at Bond Falls, MI?
The boardwalk and main viewing deck at Bond Falls are wheelchair accessible and pets on a leash are welcome. Also, there’s a picnic area nearby, so it’s the perfect spot for a family day trip.
Check Out the Upper Peninsula’s Bond Falls & Other Waterfalls
If you haven’t been to Bond Falls or any of the other waterfalls in Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula, you’re missing out! It might be a long trek, especially from the Lower Peninsula, but the trip is well worth it.
You’ll see amazing waterfalls and breathtaking views that will leave you in awe of how beautiful the Upper Peninsula is. For a true taste of the wilderness, book a room in a rustic cabin, stop in for a pasty, and head to the falls. You’ll leave with some beautiful pictures and even better memories.