For the Climber: Michigan’s Agate Falls

Rte. 28, south of Paynesville, Michigan The short trail to the falls begins in the Joseph F. Oravec Roadside Park

Agate Falls, Michigan
Agate Falls. Steelhead trout and dramatic cascades compete for the attention of anglers at Agate Falls, on the Upper Peninsula’s Ontonagon River.

Rte. 28, south of Paynesville, Michigan

The short trail to the falls begins in the Joseph F. Oravec Roadside Park just south of Rte. 28, passes under the highway, and then continues through woods above the broad middle branch of the Ontonagon River.

At a point opposite a flat-topped rock above the falls, you can either rest on the massive roots of a white pine or, with a little care and agility, climb onto the rock for a much better view of the tumbling spate of lacy water.

But the best view of the falls is attained only by way of a daring scramble down an earthen bank with crumbling rock “steps,” slippery roots, and a few necessary handholds. This route, which is dangerous in wet weather, leads to a ledge from which one has a view of the first and second plunges of the falls. Only those in excellent physical shape are encouraged to try this part of the trail.

Open year-round but not staffed.

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr

(906) 353-6588

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest