Slate River Falls

May 2006

State: Michigan


Height: 25

Crest: 30

Water Source: Slate River

Waypoint: 46.829N 88.248W

Summary: The Slate River is a remote wild river which, like many rivers in this part of the U.P. has numerous drops as it makes it way to Lake Superior. The last is the most impressive, and one of the most impressive falls in Baraga or Marquette County.

Slate River Falls is, unsurprisingly, on the Slate River. This is the largest of many drops over a three mile stretch of the river. This is a wild waterfall, with no fences, and the only trail is one left behind by the curious feet of others.

The falls are located along Skanee Road between L'Anse and Skanee, about 10 miles east of L'Anse. There is a sign marking the Slate River, so the falls are easier to find than some. The bridge over the river is just past Arvon Road. A few hundred feet east of the bridge there is a two track that leads to a small turn around. A rough trail starts here that follows the east side of the creek. The falls are about 1/2 mile from the road. You will have to cross the river at some point. There are also ATV trails on the west side of the river that lead down to the river. From here you can work your way up the river, crossing it when convenient. A rough trail has been left behind by curious visitors.

If you continue upstream past the falls a few hundred yards you can find two smaller falls, Slide Falls and Ecstasy Falls (so named by kayakers). About 3 miles upstream you can find Quartzite Falls, Black Slate Falls and more unnamed drops. These falls can be reached by car. From Skanee Road head south on Avron Road, which is just west of the Slate River, for about 3.3 miles. Take the road to the right, which will soon cross the Slate River. A well groomed trail will lead you downstream to Quartzite Falls. Black Slate Falls and other drops are upstream and you just have to make your way along the river.

At the visitor center in L'Anse a waterfall brochure is available. This identifies Slate River Falls as Quartzite Falls, and "moves" Quartzite and Black Slate Falls respectively upstream. I am pretty sure they are wrong about Quartzite Falls, but I am not sure which of the small drops is actually Black Slate Falls.

Here is a short movie of Slate River Falls. I believe the blurry spot in the upper right corner is a bug that landed on the camera lens. There were a lot of bugs flying about, as can be seen in the movie.

I tried to visit this falls a second time after a heavy rain, but the river crossing looked much to dangerous to attempt.

[Lake Superior] [Marquette & Baraga County] Nearby Falls

To the west you will find the Lower Silver Falls, and back in L'Anse you will find Powerhouse Falls and others. To the east in one of the wildest parts of Michigan you can find Big Falls and other wild waterfalls.

Photo Gallery

Quartzite Falls

Black Slate Falls

Another Drop above Black Slate Falls

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