Saxon Falls

July 2004

State: Michigan/Wisconsin

Location: 14 miles Northwest of Ironwood MI and Hurley WI

Height: 90 (several drops)

Crest: varies

Water Source: Montreal River

Waypoint: 46.53611N 90.37861W

Summary: When it has water this is a very impressive waterfall. Unfortunately it is hard to get a good view of the falls. If you are looking for some adventure it might be a fun stop, but there are many other nearby waterfalls that are more scenic and easier to get to.

Saxon Falls is located on the Montreal River just a few miles upstream of Superior Falls, about 10 miles west of Ironwood. The Montreal River forms part of the border between Michigan and Wisconsin so the falls is technically in both states. It can be visited from either side, but both require a bit of work.

Like Superior Falls there is a dam and power plant here and the water is diverted. Unlike Superior Falls there is no visitor friendly viewing area for the falls. The falls are large and complicated. I visited the Wisconsin side where trees obscure most views of the falls. There are more drops than the one pictured. This is the upper drop. The lower drop is best seen from the Michigan side.

To reach the Wisconsin side from US 2, turn north on 122. Take a right onto County Rd B. When the road takes a 90 degree right turn, turn left onto the dirt road leading to the Saxon Falls Flowage. There is a sign. If you are travelling west on US 2 you will encounter County Rd B before 122. Take a right onto County Rd B, and when the road turns 90 degrees to the left, keep going straight onto the dirt road leading to the Saxon Falls Flowage.

From the parking area there are trails that go to the right into the woods. From here you can make a difficult descent down to the falls. This is not easy. I am not sure if the locals have beaten an easier path to this falls or not. The trail climbs up sharply, turning away from the falls, and continues along the rim of the gorge for awhile. I followed it some distance, but did not see evidence of much traffic or any easy way down on this trail.

There is a metal stairway down the gorge behind a fence and a big "No Trespassing" sign which I dutifully respected, despite an obvious trail around the fence. A little research has since shown that this stairway is used by paddlers to access the river apparently with the approval of the Northern States Power company. I think some interesting views of the falls could be had from vantage points on the stairs.

The Michigan side can be seen from the Powers Trail System. Here you can get a nice, if distant, view of the lower drop, and some nice views of the gorge. I have personally not visited this side. Based on the maps it looks like a hike or bike of a mile or more to the falls.

[Lake Superior] [Iron & Gogebic County] Nearby Falls

There are a lot of waterfalls in this area. Superior Falls is downstream on the Montreal River and is just a short drive away. To reach Superior Falls from Saxon Falls, return to County Rd B and take a right. When you reach 122, take another right. Interstate/Peterson Falls are farther upstream. Potato Falls is about 15 miles away. Copper Falls State Park and the Black River Scenic Byway are both within 50 miles.

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July 2004

Looking downstream

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