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  • Writer's pictureSam Hageman

MITTEN MADE PUPS: THE BEST DOG FRIENDLY WATERFALLS IN MICHIGAN

All the waterfalls I have listed had a few requirements; (1) accessibility to dogs; (2) had easy access to the water for the dogs to splash or swim in; & (3) were moderate to easy hikes. Further, all the waterfalls are in various spots around the U.P.

ROCK RIVER FALLS

This waterfall is in the Hiawatha National Forest in the middle of the U.P. The waterfall can easily be located by routing to the trailhead using the AllTrails app & opening it in your preferred mapping app. You should have a vehicle with 4 wheel/all-wheel drive &/or decent clearance, as you will need to drive down a one-track forest road filled with massive holes that could easily break a car. Once you reach the trailhead you will see parking on the left side of the road but beware of the spots as they can get muddy/hard to pull out of.

Once you have parked, you will need to hike about a mile to the waterfall. The trail has moderate/easy terrain with some muddy/mucky areas that may have water over them or mud pits. The trail is very pretty with lots of tree coverage & quiet, minus the wildlife around.

After hiking you will reach a hill that does down into the river & waterfall. The waterfall is easily accessible for dogs or humans to walk right in. There is a small trail to the left of the waterfall that lets you get to the top, but that is not easy to access for dogs. To the right of the falls you can walk right up to the waterfalls. When we went the dogs all walked right up to the falls to splash around or swim & play fetch. They also were able to walk in the riverbed to the left as well.


The nice hike, accessibility to the waterfalls/river, the seclusion of the location, & the fact that the Hiawatha National Forest allows dogs to be under voice control in most of the forest, is what places this in our top Dog Friendly Waterfalls in Michigan.

LOWER AUTRAIN FALLS

This waterfall is one of two AuTrain falls in the Hiawatha National Forest in the middle of the U.P., easily found by using Google Maps or AllTrails. The Upper Falls can be viewed on an overlook on the road before the Lower Falls. There seems to also be a footpath here, but it is very steep & potentially not the safest or even developed. When you continue down the dirt road you will come to a parking lot to part for the lower falls. Then once you have parked you will hike down a steep gravel hill for about a quarter of a mile until you reach a bridge next to an electric building. You can view the falls from the bridge or cross the bridge to access the riverbed. You can easily walk on the falls, as well as within the riverbed.

The water does not move fast but watch where you are walking as the green algae is slippery. The best way to access the riverbed is to go to the left of the bridge by the electrical building. There you can walk around easily & walk under the bridge towards the falls. You can also access the waterfall top this way or on the trail leading to the falls.

I do highly recommend wearing waterproof hiking boots if you plan to do this, as they can be slippery & very rocky.

The short distance to the falls, accessibility to the waterfalls/river, & the fact that the Hiawatha National Forest allows dogs to be under voice control in most of the forest, is what places this in our top Dog Friendly Waterfalls in Michigan.

O KUN-DE-KUN FALLS

This waterfall is in the Ottawa National Forest in the western U.P. The waterfall can easily be located by routing to the trailhead using the AllTrails app & opening it in your preferred mapping app. The drive is easy & down paved roads until you hit the dirt parking lot for the North Country Trail. You will park there & hike part of the North Country Trail to access the falls. The trail can get muddy with red clay or dusty depending on the weather. The hike is a 2.7-mile loop with little change in terrain.

When you are on the trail you will hit the lower O Kun-de-kun falls. You can take the little trail detour to see the falls up close, but there is no great way to really view them/it can get a little dangerous depending on the water levels. After you finish there & continue down the trail, you will get to a big hill going downward toward the riverbed. On the right side you will see a little footpath, take that to see the Upper Falls up-close & on the cliff. It is a fairly large space & you can even climb down from there to get close to the river. Once you are done there, you can continue down the hill to the Bridge that crosses the river. Here the dogs can splash around or swim or if you cross over the bridge they can splash around in some other falls. This area can get sunny depending on the weather, so beware it may get warm.


The nice hike, accessibility to the waterfalls/river, & that dogs are allowed almost everywhere in the Ottawa National Forest, is what places this in our top Dog Friendly Waterfalls in Michigan.


SUPERIOR FALLS

This waterfall is located on the border of Wisconsin & Michigan on the Montreal River. You will have to drive through parts of Wisconsin to access the falls, but the Trail is in Michigan with the falls being on the Wisconsin side of the water. You will drive down some dirt roads to access the falls, but you can easily map to them using Google Maps. When you arrive to the dirt parking lot & start to head toward the 0.7-mile trail, you will see two paths. The right one is an overlook of Lake Superior, nothing more. Then the left one is a steep hill down to Lake Superior; this is the path you would take.

Once you are down the hill you can go to the rocky beach of Lake Superior right in front of you or turn left & follow the trail by the river. When you continue down the trail you will see an Electric building, go around the building & continue toward the river.

You will see another rocky beach along the river. You can follow this down until you see the falls or are as close to the falls as you can get. Here you can skip rocks, swim/splash around, go fishing or just hang out. It is a very large area to access the river & see the falls, so you can honestly stay away from anyone else that comes due to the amount of space there.


The short hike, easy access to the river to swim, easy access to Lake Superior, & the ability to bring the pups are why this is in our top Dog Friendly Waterfalls in Michigan.





PRESQUE ISLE FALLS

These waterfalls are in the Porcupine Mountains State Park, the largest Michigan State Park. There are plenty of waterfalls in the area, but these ones are the most easily accessible. There are four waterfalls on the Presque Isle River; Manabezho Falls, Manido Falls, Nawadaha Falls, & Pothole Falls. You can map straight to Presque Isle Campground in the Porkies to get to the trailhead, but you will need a Michigan State Park Pass or on your Michigan vehicle registration if you are a Michigan resident. When you drive down the road on the left will be the campground, but on the right is the “day-use” area for Presque Isle. You can park then hike down the trail. The trail is accessible, however there are 100 stairs down to the falls. At one point on the stairs, you will have the option to go straight or right.

If you go right, you will walk the wooden staircase/path along the viewpoints of the falls. However, if you go straight, you will cross a suspension bridge over the Presque Isle River & follow the North Country Trail. Once you do that you can go to the right to follow the North Country Trail & access the Presque Isle River & the waterfalls in the riverbed. You can also cross over the riverbed & follow some of the North Country Trail for more moderate hiking as well. The other great thing is if you go left instead of right when you cross the bridge you will go through the forest to Lake Superior.

This spot has so many amazing hikes near it, as well as great access to the river/waterfalls & Lake Superior, & is dog friendly being a part of the Michigan State Parks are why this is in our top Dog Friendly Waterfalls in Michigan.

INTERSTATE FALLS

This waterfall is located on the border of Wisconsin & Michigan on the Montreal River. You will need to access these falls in Wisconsin, as the Michigan side is private property. When you drive through Wisconsin, you will be on one of the main roads & need to quickly pull into the dirt parking lot for the trailhead. The best way to map this is to use the AllTrails app & opening it in your preferred mapping app, as to avoid being taken to private property.

When you arrive, there are some picnic tables in the parking area to eat a snack, then hit the trail. The 0.7-mile trail can get muddy when it is wet, but it is otherwise flat. The trail has multiple little side paths to the riverbed along the way. When we went, we honestly spent more time on one of the side paths playing in the river & jumping on all the rocks then the actual falls when we went. You can continue down the path & you will see an overlook at the top to view the falls, then there are stairs down to the riverbed with the falls. When going down the stairs beware there is a spot at the end that leads straight to a slick black rock going down., so it can be difficult when it is wet to go down or back up it. Otherwise, once you are down it is easy to access the river, skip rocks, hang out by the waterfall, & even swim/splash around.

The easy hike, easy access to the river/waterfall to swim, & the ability to bring the pups are why this is in our top Dog Friendly Waterfalls in Michigan.



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