Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday Waterfall: Spray Falls, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Spray Falls, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising in Michigan's Central Upper Peninsula.

            Remote Spray Creek bubbles up somewhere in the middle of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, meanders through miles of maple and beech forest—then flies foam-first over a 50-foot cliff into Lake Superior. Seeing the creek upstream, you’d never guess the little guy had it in him to become one of the most dramatic waterfalls in the region.
            Due to it’s remote location and precipitous drop, visitors to Spray Falls will have to decide ahead of time how they’d like to view it: from land, or from water. Each gives an amazing perspective and a good workout (3 miles by foot, 12 miles by float). Either way, you can contemplate gravity and the world’s largest lake in peace, because the park’s tour boats usually turn around a couple miles short of this fascinating feature. Scan the water at the base of the falls for the rusting remnants of a boiler from an 1856 shipwreck.
            Location: Take H-58 about 20 miles west of Munising to the Little Beaver Lake campground area, park in the backpacker’s trailhead lot and hike north over forested dunes to the park’s Lakeshore Trail on Lake Superior. Go west on the Lakeshore Trail to reach the falls. It’s a moderate three-mile hike (6 miles roundtrip).
            Bonus: Trade your boots in for a kayak and paddle the Pictured Rocks shoreline to see Spray Falls from lake level. Talk to Northern Waters Adventures or Paddling Michigan for help getting there.

Aaron Peterson is a writer and photographer covering active travel in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the Lake Superior region. Check out the website for more photography photos pictures of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior.

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