When you think of waterfalls in Michigan, your mind automatically goes north to the Upper Peninsula and notably the mighty Tahquamenon Falls. Additionally, there are over a dozen waterfalls to explore from Newberry to Munising and farther west to Eagle Harbor in the U.P. However, those waterfalls can be a long drive for those traveling from downstate Michigan. If you are looking for a unique waterfall experience closer to home, look no further than the Ocqueoc Falls.
Tucked away in a less traveled corner of our state, the Ocqueoc Falls are located in Northeast Michigan in Presque Isle Country; not far off State Hwy 68 north of Millersburg and west of Rogers City. The Ocqueoc River is a rocky, picturesque stream (that holds trout in many places for those aspiring to fish) that has headwaters out of the cold spring fed Ocqueoc Lake and eventually drains into Swan Bay in Lake Huron. The river boasts the only waterfall in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
Recently, the Department of Natural Resources conducted a major renovation of the park area around the falls. Visitors will now find updated parking, walkways, restrooms and picnic area with charcoal pits. Additionally, the DNR has made the park one of the most ADA accessible in Michigan, with several amenities.
There are several sets of actual rock formations that create the falls, with the gradual cascade into a swirling pool type area. Most waterfall experiences allow visitors to stand back and take pictures. At Ocqueoc, you are able to get in and actually experience the falls. When the weather warms and the water gains some higher temperature, you will find families wading and swimming in the river. While the bottom is rock and has some slippery spots, it is generally navigable by foot. However, swimming shoes or water footwear is recommended. Additionally, on the west side of the river, there is a very established foot trail to get away from the crowd and hike up and down the stream. The water is clear and pretty and worth the walk.
The Ocqueoc Falls are 4 hours from Grand Rapids, 3 1/2 hours from Lansing and 3 hours from Detroit. If you are looking for a neat Northern Michigan experience in a less traveled area of this great state, check them out.