Some of the best things to do in the Upper Peninsula are those subtle little surprises you never knew existed. Take Canyon Falls, for instance.
Now let me just say that Canyon Falls is no secret. It’s in the waterfall books and it’s on my favorite waterfall website. But if you aren’t specifically seeking out Upper Peninsula waterfalls, you’d likely just drive right past it.
Who knows, maybe you already have?
How to Get to Canyon Falls
To get to the falls you need to take a little bit of a walk down Canyon Falls Trail. And to get to Canyon Falls trail, you need to pull off an otherwise uneventful stretch of U.S. 41 south of Baraga, along a big stretch of what most people would call “a whole lot of nothing,” and into what looks to be a standard Michigan rest stop.
Which, of course, is what I did one day as I was driving back from the Keweenaw. Truthfully, I just needed to get out and stretch so I pulled over. (Okay, and maybe nature had called, too) Right about then I noticed a sign that said “Canyon Falls,” along with a trail map and what appeared to be a trailhead.
“Why not?” I thought, so I grabbed my camera and went for a walk.
After a few hundred yards of walking, I thought maybe I should have actually taken a look at that map. The beginning Canyon Falls Trail meanders through a patch of woods with no water in sight. (There were no other people in sight either.)
Not long after that, a river came into view. And of course, the trail made its way to the river and then traced the riverbank from that point on.
I walked a little further and saw some small rapids. “Are these the falls?” I thought. I kept walking.
Mind you, I had never heard of Canyon Falls. I didn’t know what it looked like, I didn’t know how far down the trail it was, and I didn’t meet anyone on the trail who I could ask.
Discovering Canyon Falls
I kept walking and sure enough, the trail does come to a lovely end by this cool fifteen-foot drop of the river called Canyon Falls. And as you might expect, just beyond the falls is a beautiful little Canyon, right at a bend in the river. I snapped a few photos and made my way back to the car, very happy that I took the time to stop and explore.
Now that Canyon Falls is no longer a mystery to you, you’ll have to find your own subtle Upper Peninsula surprise. The next time you see one of those little signs that call out some park, waterfall or trail, don’t be afraid to stop and explore. Chances are you’ll be happy you did.
Bottom line: A visit to Canyon Falls is an excellent stop on what could otherwise be a very long stretch of U.S. 41.
Other things to note: For more about Canyon Falls (and even more photos) check out the Canyon Falls page on Gowaterfalling.com.