Hike Sixteen by liuqingyan


									       Michigan and Wisconsin Hikes: Table of Contents

Michigan Trails
     1. Tahquamenon Falls State Park
     2. Munising Waterfalls Tour
     3. Bond Falls Park
     4. Porcupine Mountains State Park: Summit Peak Trail
     5. Porcupine Mountains State Park: Presque Isle Unit

Wisconsin Trails
     6. Devil’s Lake State Park
Hike #1
Trails: (numerous)
Location: Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Nearest City: Paradise, Michigan
Length: 1.8 miles
Last Hiked: August 2001
Overview: Two short hikes leading to lower and upper Tahquamenon Falls, respectively.
Park Information:

Directions to the trailhead: From Paradise, go west on SR 123 8 miles to the entrance to
Lower Tahquamenon Falls on the left. Pay the small entry fee and proceed along park
roads to the falls trailhead, following signs. Upper Tahquamenon Falls is located another
4 miles west on SR 123. Again, turn left and follow signs to the upper falls trailhead.

The hike: Located in the eastern Upper Peninsula, Tahquamenon Falls is one of the
crown jewels of the Michigan state park system. The state park surrounds the last 20
miles of the Tahquamenon River as it winds its way east toward Whitefish Bay and Lake
Superior. Highlighting this journey are two waterfalls, both of which are among the
largest east of the Mississippi.
         The park has an extensive trail system. A 12-mile scout trail winds along both
sides of SR 123 and past both waterfalls. Also, a four mile trail connects the upper and
lower falls areas and would make for an excellent extended day hike. Our route contains
two short hikes that combined yield the maximum scenery for the shortest distance of any
trail in the park.
         From the Lower Falls Parking Area, pick up the blacktop trail that heads west into
the forest. Immediately the basin, a shallow pool of water into which the waterfalls flow,
comes into view. The land across the basin is not the other side of the river, but it is
actually an island. Notice the waterfall to the left of this island. Stop at an overlook for a
good view of this falls. Our hike stays on the north bank of the river, and therefore does
not swing close to this waterfall for a close look. The park does offer canoes for use by
its patrons to row across the basin to the island. A short trail around the island offers
excellent views of waterfalls on both sides of the island, but that trail is not described
         Continue along the blacktop trail, following signs that say “overlook.” The
blacktop soon turns to boardwalk as the trail enters a forest consisting of yellow birch,
maple, and white pine. After 0.4 miles arrive at the first wooden overlook on the left.
Standing on this overlook, you are but feet away from powerful Lower Tahquamenon
Falls. This waterfall drops 50 feet in three tiers splashing over rocks and carrying large
volumes of water. Though not as high and dramatic as upper falls, this may be my
favorite waterfall overlook in the park. A good waterfall is not merely seen, but also
heard and, in the best of cases, felt. Standing almost directly over the falls, one can feel
the spray and clearly hear the powerful roar of the water cascading over bare rock. The
water has a brown tint created by tannin, the same substance that gives Dr. Pepper its
color. After you have viewed both this and another overlook slightly further on, retrace
your steps to your car and head for upper falls.
        Having parked at the upper falls parking area, again choose the blacktop path
which leads downhill into the forest. In 0.3 miles arrive at a trail junction with another
blacktop trail, this one running along the rim of the Tahquamenon River gorge. Turn left
and begin walking with the gorge on the right and the forest on your left. The falls can be
heard down in the gorge but not yet seen. Bypass two trails that go off to the left. The
first one is our return route and the second one is the river trail connecting you to the
lower falls in four miles.
        Look for a metal set of steps leading downhill to the right. Descend eight flights
of steps to arrive at just above river level in the gorge. Now heading upstream, a
boardwalk and a few more metal steps negotiate the rock walls of the gorge to arrive at a
wooden overlook. From this point, the falls are easily visible about 0.5 miles upstream.
This waterfall features a straight drop of 90 feet into a large plunge pool. Upper falls is
the second widest waterfall east of the Mississippi, with the widest being, of course,
Niagara Falls. Shale rock walls line either side of the waterfall.
        After viewing the waterfall, retrace your steps to the intersection for the return
route, as described above. Turn right on this gravel trail and enter a birch, maple, beech,
and white pine forest with a dense shrub layer. Several interpretive signs tell about the
animal and plant life of the forest. In 0.3 miles the trail comes out at the upper falls
parking lot to conclude the hike.
Hike #2
Trails: (numerous)
Location: Various Munising waterfalls
Nearest City: Munising, Michigan
Length: 1 mile
Last Hiked: August 2001
Overview: Several short hikes to waterfalls surrounding the town of Munising, Michigan.

Directions to the trailhead: (See below)

The hike: Munising is a small town sitting directly on Lake Superior in the middle of
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In the wintertime, Munising is a famous stopover for
snowmobilers buzzing along one of the many snowmobile trails that criss-cross the
Upper Peninsula. In the summer, the town becomes a tourist attraction as ships heading
for the nearby Pictured Rocks or touring the numerous shipwrecks in Munising harbor
depart from the town’s docks.
         The town is also home to several waterfalls of various characters that add to the
scenic beauty of Pictured Rocks and Lake Superior. All of these waterfalls are easily
accessed by short hikes from marked parking areas and trailheads. Our directions start in
downtown Munising and then proceed from waterfall to waterfall.
         Start by going east on SR 28 and turning left on Prospect Street. Where Prospect
Street ends, turn left and proceed two blocks to the parking area for Horseshoe Falls, our
first stop. Pay the small entry fee, exit the building onto the trail system and turn left,
heading uphill along a small stream to Horseshoe Falls. The trail ends at the falls, which
gently drop 30 feet in three tiers onto bear rock. The falls are spring-fed and therefore
run the entire summer. The name Horseshoe comes from the rock shelter which
surrounds the falls in the shape of a horseshoe.
         Turn around and head back downhill, turning gently right as the trail forks. Take
a moment to visit the garden, which contains several local shrub and flower species and
the pond, which features trout and ducks that visitors can feed. After viewing both of
these attractions, head back to the souvenir shop to complete the hike.
         Our next stop is Munising Falls. Retrace your steps back to SR 28 and turn right.
Where SR 28 turns left into downtown Munising, turn right and go past the national
forest visitors center. At a sign for the city hospital, turn left, pass the hospital and look
for a sign for Munising Falls on the right. Turn right here and park in the parking lot next
to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Visitors Center.
         Walk past the Visitor Center and look for a gravel trail heading for Munising
Falls. The trail begins following a creek up a narrow ravine. Where some steps go uphill
to the right, stay left, cross the creek on a bridge, and shortly arrive at the base of
Munising Falls. At 60 feet, this is the largest spring-fed waterfall in Munising. Water
vertically drops over the top of a large rock shelter directly into a small plunge pool
before proceeding downstream. In terms of appearance, this waterfall greatly resembles
those of the Appalachian plateau. At times in the past there has been a trail leading uphill
and under the rock shelter behind the falls. However, due to erosion, this trail has
become unsafe and has been closed.
        Retrace your steps first to the parking lot, then to SR 28. Turn left onto SR 28
and head east out of Munising to the intersection of SR 28 and SR 94. On the left side of
the road directly across from SR 94 sits Alger Falls, which can be viewed from a gravel
pull off on the left side of the road. No hike is required to view the falls which cascade
20 feet out of the forest and into the field along SR 28. This not a spectacular waterfall,
but given the lack of effort required to reach it, it is easily worth the journey.
        To reach our last waterfall, turn onto SR 94 and proceed 0.3 miles to Wagner
Falls State Scenic Site, accessed by a small parking lot on the left side of the road. Begin
by taking the small dirt path leaving the parking area and entering the forest. The path
meanders along with the main stream on the left, soon crossing a side stream on a
wooden bridge. 0.25 miles from the trailhead the trail reaches a wooden platform in front
of Wagner Falls. Water cascades in moderate volume 25 feet over innumerable small
terraces of stone. Of the four waterfalls presented here, this is probably my favorite, not
because of looks, but because of the peaceful splashing sounds the water makes as it falls
over the countless rock ledges. It is hard to believe such a tremendous sound could be
made by such a small waterfall. Close your eyes and simply listen to the splashing, just
imagining what could be sitting in front of you. After soaking in the sounds and sights,
retrace your steps to the parking area to complete your tour of Munising’s waterfalls.
Hike #3
Trail: Bond Falls Trail
Location: Bond Falls Park
Nearest City: Watersmeet, Michigan
Length: 1 mile
Last Hiked: August 2001
Overview: A moderate hike featuring Bond Falls, one of the most notable waterfalls in
Park Information:

Directions to the trailhead: From Watersmeet, go north on US 45 9 miles to Bond Falls
Road in the town of Paulding. Turn right on Bond Falls and go 2 miles east to the gravel
turnoff that serves as a parking lot for the area, marked by a Bond Falls sign. The trail
leaves the left side of the road.

The hike: Owned by the Upper Peninsula Power Company, Bond Falls Scenic Area
features one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula. Just upstream from
the falls is Bond Falls Reservoir which provides hydroelectric power for customers and a
constant supply of water for the falls. Two trails forming a double loop are contained on
the grounds. The first loop, described here, is 1 mile long and takes the visitor around the
falls. A second loop not described here is 2 miles and makes a longer loop around the
Bond River valley below the falls.
         The trail leaves the parking area and immediately begins heading downhill
through pine forest with the river on your right. In 0.2 miles reach the top of the falls and
begin a concrete staircase heading downhill beside the falls. At the base of the steps, the
trail curves right as the second loop goes off to the left. The waterfall now becomes fully
visible on the right side of the trail. The 60-foot falls is actually a long series of cascades
spilt into left and right sides by a small wooded island. The two sides of the falls are so
large that they cannot both be photographed in one frame using a standard lens.
         Cross a wooden bridge over the Upper Branch of the Ontonagon River that
creates the falls and view the left side of the falls. The trail continues up the eastern bank
of the river, climbing steeply and occasionally over bare rock. The trail continues
climbing, turning left away from the river, soon to arrive at Bond Falls Road with the
reservoir across the road. Turn right on the road and proceed on a short walk along the
roadside to the parking area to complete the hike.
Hike #4
Trail: Summit Peak Trail
Location: Porcupine Mountains State Park
Nearest City: Silver City, Michigan
Length: 0.7 miles
Last Hiked: August 2001
Overview: A short, relatively steep hike to a wooden overlook platform on Summit Peak.
Park Information:

Directions to the trailhead: From Silver City, go west on SR 107, entering Porcupine
Mountain State Park. Turn left onto South Boundary Road and follow signs to the
turnoff for Summit Peak Trailhead. Park in the blacktop parking area at the end of the
access road.

The hike: Located in the very northwest corner of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the
Porcupine Mountains are a special place. The state park represents the largest wilderness
area east of the Mississippi. Indeed, much of the land inside the park looks much as it did
when the land was first settled some 175 years ago.
         The most famous point in the park is Lake of the Clouds, a large lake surrounded
on three sides by mountains some 1000 feet above lake level. Besides the overlook at
Lake of the Clouds, which can be accessed by a 350 foot blacktop trail, the best views in
the park can be found from Summit Peak looking northward toward Lake Superior. This
trail is part of a larger network that criss-crosses the Summit Peak area. The route
described here is the shortest and easiest route to the views Summit Peak has to offer.
         From an information kiosk on the north side of the parking lot, pick up the wide
gravel trail as it immediately begins ascending through mature oak-maple-birch-hickory
forest. The trail uses a couple of switchbacks to gain elevation and provides several
benches for the weary during the climb.
         At 0.2 miles the trail levels off somewhat before coming to the base of a short
wooden staircase. Ascend these stairs and in 100 yards come to the wooden overlook
platform that provides broad views to the north. The Porcupine Mountains dominate the
foreground while Lake Superior, now about 10 miles away, can be seen on a clear day in
the background. After soaking in the view, retrace your steps downhill, losing 250 feet of
elevation to return to the parking lot and complete the hike.
Hike #5
Trail: West Shore Trail
Location: Porcupine Mountains State Park, Presque Isle Unit
Nearest City: Wakefield, Michigan
Length: 1 mile
Last Hiked: August 2001
Overview: A hike featuring numerous wooden steps leading to three of the largest
waterfalls in Porcupine Mountains State Park.
Park Information:

Directions to the trailhead: From Wakefield, go north on County Route 513 into
Porcupine Mountains State Park. Pass the turnoff to South Boundary Road on the right
and park at the parking area designated for the North Shore Trail.

The hike: Few rivers in Michigan can match the beauty of the last 2 miles of the Presque
Isle River. Just before emptying into Lake Superior, the river plunges over three
waterfalls in quick order while passing through a dense pine forest. the river makes a
perfect nesting area for the bald eagle, and almost every summer one will be spotted
nesting in the pines high above the river.
         The river is contained in the very western section of the state park. The area is
linked to the rest of the park by South Boundary Road for automobiles and the North
Shore Trail, which treads along Lake Superior, for foot traffic. In the Presque Isle Unit
itself, there are two trails, one on either bank of the river. They are called the West Shore
and East Shore trails, respectively. The three waterfalls on the river can be viewed from
either trail, but since the road and parking area are on the west shore, we chose the West
Shore Trail to describe here.
         Enter the forest and soon pass along the edge of a sunny, warm meadow. At a
trail junction on the east edge of the meadow, turn left and soon bypass a side trail going
right to another parking area. Continue heading north and soon descend a long flight of
wooded steps to arrive at river level just before it empties into Lake Superior. At this
point, the North Shore Trail continues straight across a bridge over the river to link up
with the East Shore Trail and then continue east toward park headquarters. Our hike
turns right and begins paralleling the west bank of the river.
         Using wooden boardwalks and steps to make the hiking easier, the trail offers
superb views of numerous cascades and rapids in the river to the left. Shortly, the first
waterfall, Manabezho Falls, comes into view on the river. This is one of the most
unusual waterfalls in Michigan. There appears to be a fault line running perpendicular to
the river at this point, with the south side of the fault being some 70 feet higher than the
northern side. Large volumes of water spill through low areas in the fault line, thus
creating the waterfall. This waterfall, in my opinion, marks the highlight of the hike.
         The trail begins climbing a long series of wooded steps out of the gorge, only to
bypass the return route going right and descend more wooden steps back to river level.
Now above Manabezho Falls, the trail comes to an overlook of Manido Falls. This
waterfall is smaller and less dramatic than its predecessor, but the overlook here is right
beside the falls, thus yielding a better view than you had of Manabezho Falls, which was
viewed from 100 yards away.
         From Manido Falls, continue upstream to a viewing platform which offers a view
of Nawadaha Falls some 0.5 miles upstream. This is another smaller waterfall that
features some white cascading water. A free viewer gives you a better, closer view of the
falls than can be had with the naked eye. It also might be useful in spotting bald eagles in
the trees.
         The trail continues past this platform for a closer view of Nawadaha Falls.
However, the trail is steep and unsafe in sections, so I recommend viewing the falls from
the platform described above. Retrace your steps back up the wooden stairs and turn left
on the dirt trail heading back to the parking lot. Close the loop in 100 feet, walk back
past the meadow and return to the blacktop parking lot, thus completing the hike.
Hike #6
Trails: CCC, Devil’s Doorway, Balanced Rock Trails
Location: Devil’s Lake State Park
Nearest City: Baraboo, Wisconsin
Length: 2.9 miles
Last Hiked: August 2001
Overview: A difficult trail to the East Bluff rock formations overlooking Devils Lake.
Park Information: http://www.devilslakewisconsin.com/

Directions to the trailhead: Take SR 123 south out of Baraboo. Where SR 123 curves
left, take a soft right onto South Shore Road. Stay left where Burma Road goes right.
Drive past Devil’s Lake to the CCC Parking lot on the right. Park here; the trail begins
across the road from the parking lot.

The hike: Devil’s Lake is a geological oddity. Once the bed of an ancient river, the lake
is currently surrounded by 500-foot rocky hills and has no visible outlet or source. The
cause of this drastic change was the last period of glaciation some 10,000 years ago. This
area of Wisconsin along with the famous nearby Wisconsin Dells was one of the few
parts of the state that did not become covered by the massive ice sheets. Instead, glaciers
went around this area, pushing rock debris into the path of the ancient river. The river
eventually became stopped by an ice and rock dam. The result was a lake with piles of
rocks surrounding it.
        Established in 1911, Devil’s Lake is one of the more popular parks in the
Wisconsin State park system. The main attraction is the unusual rock formations that
surround the lake, although its close proximity to Madison and Wisconsin Dells probably
create extra traffic as well. In terms of facilities, the park features a campground, a
nature center, several picnic shelters, and 10 miles of hiking trails. Our hike takes us to
the top of the east bluff overlooking Devil’s Lake and past some of the more famous rock
        Begin by crossing the park road and following the trail marked with purple, the
CCC Trail. Trails at Devil’s Lake are marked by color and name, but they are not
difficult to follow. Ignore a trail that goes off to the left (this is our return route) and
begin climbing the east bluff. At first this climb is made through a dense maple-oak
forest, but further up the climb goes out into a barren boulder field. Fortunately, steps
have been cemented together out of pieces of rock to make the climb more possible. This
was accomplished by the depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), hence the
name of the trail. Despite the steps, the climb is long and steep, gaining almost 500 feet
in elevation in 0.6 miles. If you are not sure which way the trail goes in the boulder field,
look for the white mortar used to hold the steps together, and this will tell what direction
to scramble.
        After much scrambling and numerous switchbacks, the trail makes one final
switchback to the left to work around a rock wall. Now atop the east bluff, the valley and
opposite ridge can be seen to the left and below you while a pine forest is to the right.
The trail at this point becomes the Devil’s Doorway Trail and begins heading west.
Overlooks and rock formations come into view on the left as does the lake some 500 feet
below you.
         Ignore the steep Potholes trail going left and continue along the east bluff
following a rolling course. Pass the Devil’s Doorway and Balancing Rock rock
formations and soon arrive at the north end of east bluff. The lake is now fully in view
straight ahead. At this point, pick up the Balanced Rock Trail, which goes to the left.
Begin descending while admiring the lake in front and below you, but being careful not
to slip or fall on the stone steps. Also, take care not to bother rock climbers that tend to
congregate along the trail as they watch one of their comrades high above.
         At the bottom of the hill, the trail nears a railroad track and arrives at an
intersection with the Grottoes Trail, which goes to the left. Turn left here and begin
hiking east with the rocks above you to the left. All of the steep climbing is over now, as
the Grottoes Trail is an easy 0.7 mile trek through mature oak forest to reconnect you to
the CCC Trail, thus closing the loop. Turn right at this junction and proceed a short
distance first to the park road, then to the parking lot to complete the hike.

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