Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a vibrant wonderland filled with so many beautiful spots you have to see for yourself to believe. The Mouth of the Huron River, which flows into Lake Superior is just one of the many hidden spots that make the UP the wonderous place that it is.
If the mouth of the Huron River were anywhere near Los Angeles it would be the “go-to” movie set anytime Hollywood needed a stunning wilderness beach for their newest blockbuster. Lucky for us, L.A. is over two thousand miles away. It’s one of the Upper Peninsula’s hidden gems.
This windswept expanse of beach where the Huron River flows into Lake Superior is dotted with large pines and offers views of the Huron Islands. Not really “near” anything, the mouth of the Huron is remote, even by Upper Peninsula standards.
Getting to Know the Huron River
The Huron River in the northern part of the Upper Peninsula is actually one of several Huron rivers in Michigan.
The eight-mile-long Little Huron River is also in the UP and flows through Powell Township in Marquette County. The 130-mile-long Huron River in southwestern Michigan flows through five counties before flowing into Lake Erie.
But the Huron River in Baraga County (sometimes called the Big Huron River) is a real thing of beauty. The river is nearly undeveloped by humans and flows through woodlands, waterfalls, and rapids.
In addition to its unmatched beauty, the Huron River is also renowned for its fishing, canoeing, and camping, though camping is very rustic and there is a lack of facilities.
Rustic Camping Near the Mouth of the Huron River
Visitors to the Mouth of the Huron have described it as one of the best and most beautiful places to camp. If you’re looking for a primitive (no amenities) place to camp, it’s a great spot for that.
Though it is rustic, there’s something that rustic campers really love about carrying in their own equipment and supplies, living off the land, and really enjoying the scenery around them.
If you’re planning a rustic camping trip near the Mouth of the Huron, one of the best spots you can stay is at Big Eric’s State Forest Campground near Skanee, located in Baraga County — about 15 minutes from the Mouth of the Huron.
The campground offers campers a chance to stay on a first-come, first-served basis, and offers almost a dozen sites for either tent camping or the use of a small trailer. The campground is rustic but offers a hand pump well, barrier-free facilities, and vault toilets.
The campground is open seasonally from April to November and is popular during that entire time, especially among fishermen who love to come for the spring and fall steelhead runs.
Visit Scenic Waterfalls Along the Huron River
You may not know it, but the Upper Peninsula has more than 300 waterfalls. That’s right! More than 300 waterfalls with vertical drops as shallow as five feet and many with drops of more than 50 feet.
Most of the UP’s waterfalls require a hike to see up close, but many of them also have barrier-free paths for easier access.
If you travel along the Huron River, you can actually see many of these spectacular waterfalls up close.
On the main part of the river, you can see the Lower Huron Falls. On the east branch, you can see Big Falls and East Branch Falls. On the river’s west branch, you can see West Branch Falls, Lower Letherby Falls, and Upper Letherby Falls.
Baraga County near Skanee — 9.6 miles from the Mouth of the Huron River
Though this waterfall is remote and can be difficult to reach, anyone who makes the trek is treated to the sight of a tiered waterfall lined with tall pine trees and a big outcropping in the middle.
East Branch Falls
Baraga County near Skanee — 8.5 miles from the Mouth of the Huron River
This waterfall offers a great view with a small waterfall framed by high river banks and trees that actually droop out over the river. East Branch Falls is only a couple of feet high, but it’s pretty nonetheless and offers a chance for some great pictures.
West Branch Falls
Baraga County near Skanee — 8.5 miles from the Mouth of the Huron River
Visitors to this waterfall will be amazed by the chain of different drops that all lead down into a deep gorge. The main waterfall cascades down directly, followed by several smaller drops that flow over rocks.
Baraga County near Skanee — 13.2.5 miles from the Mouth of the Huron River
Leatherby Falls is actually broken up into two distinct groupings: Upper Leatherby Falls and Lower Leatherby Falls.
The lower falls consist of a series of small drops over rocky terrain. Most of the drops here are less than a foot tall. The upper falls feature a wide, fanned-out cascade of water that crashes over the rocks into a deep pool.
Dining Near the Mouth of the Huron River
Make no mistake, the mouth of the Huron River is absolutely one of the Upper Peninsula’s hidden gems. But it does take time to reach and odds are you’ll be hungry before or after your journey.
If you’re looking for a good spot to chow down on your travels, visitors to the area have several great options to choose from.
20025 Skanee Road, L’Anse
Outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen of all ages are welcome here to a place that hosts fishing tournaments, cribbage tournaments, and even big buck contests during hunting season.
You’ll find all your standard pub fare here from homemade subs and pizza to prime rib sandwiches to burgers to apps. Visit on Wednesdays for Mexican night featuring everything from taco pizza to wet burritos to chimichangas.
9 S Front St, L’Anse
Hungry customers can find a little bit of everything at this family-friendly eatery. The menu features delights like Chinese dishes, chicken wings and fries, apps, a Friday fish fry, pizza, lasagna, burgers, and more.
11 S Main St, L’Anse
The menu at Nite Owl Cafe is simple, but there’s plenty of variety and the food is delicious.
The cafe offers several kinds of pizza as well as frequent specials, which have included pasties, smash bowls, sloppy joes, and jalapeno grilled cheese in the past.
Stop in for a great meal and don’t forget to snag a sweet treat to take home. If you’re lucky you may be able to nap a piece of homemade carrot cake or a big frosted cinnamon roll.
104 North Main Street, L’Anse
Start your day of exploration with a steaming cup of joe here and maybe even a meal.
You can find iced coffee and several flavors of drip coffee here along with tasty treats like cookies and macaroons. The breakfast menu features egg, toast, and meat combos as well as offerings like a smoked beef brisket burrito.
Customers can also stop in for lunch specials and an impressive menu that includes grilled sandwiches, salmon burgers, soups, salads, and more.
120 E. Broad St, L’Anse
This cozy pizza place offers up tasty pies and other goodies to its hungry customers.
The pizza menu offers customers a chance to make their own or choose from signature options like the cudighi special, chicken and broccoli, and meat lovers. Sides include garlic cheese bread and nachos.
If you’re craving something more than pizza, there are more than a dozen hot sub-options, a half dozen cold sub-options, and several salads.
A First-Hand Experience
Awesome Mitten Creator Team member, Jesse Land, had the opportunity to explore the Mouth of the Huron in 2017 and shared his experience with us.
I visited the mouth of the Huron River while camping at Big Eric’s Bridge State Forest Campground. I was up near the Huron Mountains visiting some friends, and my first view of the river mouth was from the much less frequently visited east side of the river.
The next day I took the more popular (and more easily accessible) route, which I think would be fine for most cars. I wouldn’t recommend trying to navigate to the east side of the river by car unless you’re an off-road enthusiast with a GPS.
The west side of the river mouth is just as beautiful, maybe even more so. Not a soul was there on my visit, though I’ve heard that this is a popular primitive camping spot in the summer. I can definitely see why and am looking forward to heading back here someday with my family and a tent.
The water (both in the river and the lake) was very cold, as I visited in May, but I’ve heard this is a great spot for swimming when Lake Superior warms up a little for the summer. The river has a sandy bottom and I’ve heard it makes for a nice little canoe or kayak paddle upstream.
Getting to the Mouth of the Huron River
As you come into L’Anse on US 41, veer right onto Broad Street and continue until you hit the intersection at Main Street, which is just a few blocks.
Turn right on Main Street and follow it to the end. Main Street eventually becomes Skanee Road, and you’ll drive for about 19 miles before you come to a T intersection.
Turn left at the intersection onto Portice Rd and drive a couple of miles until it also comes to a T intersection. Turn right onto Huron Road and take it to the end, which is a couple of miles of dirt road that winds through the woods.
Make sure to stay on the main road. Huron Road starts out as gravel and eventually turns to packed sand.
A few unmarked roads turn off Huron Road once you get into the woods, so be sure to stay on the main road (it’s bigger than the rest).
The Bottom Line?
The mouth of the Huron River is one of the most scenic beaches in the Upper Peninsula. Don’t tell anyone about this hidden gem but be sure to add it to your own Michigan bucket list!