3 must-see waterfalls in Munising, Michigan? Munising Falls, Elliot Falls, and Wagner Falls are all winners and pretty easy to access too!
Our family camping trips almost always consist of some form of waterfall hunting – we love the hike to each location, watching the water and streams and even better if we can play in the falls! True to our regular sense of adventure, we took a day from our campsite in Munising to run around finding some waterfalls.
If you have a chance to go on a Pictured Rocks boat tour you’ll be treated to a few more waterfalls and if you’re lucky, your captain will even navigate the boat beneath the waterfall! But even if you don’t get a chance to go on a cruise, there are tons of waterfalls located along the lake shore and most are pretty easy to get to.
While our family always plans camping trips during the summer, this particular trip was special as I also was photographing a wedding for a dear friend of mine – so get ready for some wedding photos!
After a gorgeous mid-day ceremony at Miner’s Beach in front of Elliot Falls, we headed toward Munising Falls for a few photos.
Munising Falls is one of the easiest sets of falls to get to in the area. The parking lot is quite large and there are seasonal restrooms on site. We parked, then followed the quarter-mile paved trail, across a bridge, toward the lower viewing platform of the falls.
The lower platforms are incredibly accessible. If you’re looking to go to the upper platform, there is a set of stairs that goes to a pretty cozy (i.e. small) landing from where you can watch the water from the top of the falls.
The short walk to the falls is shaded and follows a trickling stream. The dappled light and sounds of water are calming and a treat to walk through, not to mention the perfect placement of the viewing deck.
The falls were not incredibly busy while we were there, but I can definitely foresee it being a popular spot as it is so accessible to everyone. You will not be able to play in the water at these falls, but the site is worth a visit.
Elliot Falls and Miners Beach
For me, the main event and best views were at Miners Beach and Elliot Falls. I photographed my friends’ wedding ceremony right on the beach on Friday and then took the family back to visit on Saturday.
If you or someone you know is looking for an elopement-style location in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, near the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Miners Beach is a winner.
Keep in mind that as for nearly any public location, permits do need to be obtained to use the area.
The drive to Elliot Falls can be a little confusing if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for. For one, if you are in the mood for a longer hike, you’ll need to head to an entirely different location than we did during our visit.
Since we weren’t in the mood for a long hike and I wanted to just let my family enjoy the beach and the falls, we took a shortcut.
Parking for Miners Beach & Elliot Falls
Miners Beach Road gives two options – to the left goes to the main beach, but driving to the right takes you directly to the staircase leading to the falls side of the beach, which is where we parked.
At peak season, the road on this side may be blocked off a bit for kayaking companies, as the beach and falls are a popular starting point for the Pictured Rocks kayak tours. While we were mindful of that, we parked not in the small parking area, but alongside the road with the vehicles of kayakers.
How to Get to Elliot Falls
To get to the falls, we took a sandy trail and staircase that led us to the beach, with sandstone outcroppings and the falls were about one hundred yards to the right of the staircase. When we arrived, kayakers were getting ready to take off for their tour, so we were sure not to disturb their area.
The beach was sunny and warm and the Caribbean blue waters were, well, Lake Superior cold! That didn’t deter us from dipping our toes in though. As always, we are explorers so we were climbing all over the sandstone and checking out the tiny caves along the shore leading to Elliot Falls.
A Climbable Waterfall
While one of the smaller falls that can be visited, the chilly waters of Elliot Falls dip right into Lake Superior and it was so fun to climb up on the little ledge, sit near the falls and look out over the lake.
A word of caution (and always while exploring these types of sites) be careful with your footing as the sandstone can become slippery when wet. We also are always careful with the rock formations as they can sometimes be fragile and we never want to destroy any of nature’s beauty.
We stayed at the beach and falls for quite a while, simply enjoying the view and watching the kayakers.
After spending lots of time at Miners Beach and Elliot Falls, we decided to round out our little day of exploration by checking out Wagner Falls. This waterfall is in another pretty accessible location, however, parking can be a little dicey.
There is a designated parking area on the same side of the road as the trail entrance as well as a small parking area across the road. The road is curvy and drivers travel pretty quickly, so use caution when crossing the road and when backing out of parking spots!
The walk to the Wagner Falls viewing platform is about a quarter of a mile, round-trip. The trail itself is accessible and an easy walk, but there are a few steps to get up to the viewing platform, however, the falls can be seen without going up the steps.
This is another waterfall that while you cannot play in the falls, it’s a gorgeous view and a great way to round out any waterfall hunting trip.
We hung out for a few minutes, enjoying the view. Other hikers brought along lunches which they ate on a bench on the viewing platform. This park is small, so there are no restrooms in the area and no water fountains. It’s perfect for taking a quick walk!
See Even More Waterfalls in Munising
Wherever you stay in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, be sure to check out one of the many waterfalls – maybe you’ll become waterfall hunters like us!