First of all, we had a difficulty orienting ourselves given the description of the "Ottawa National Forest". This review actually pertains to "Black River Trail" which is a true attraction near Ironwood, MI.
So, geographic details first: you start at GPS location 46.5206558, -90.0966256 and drive this road up to Lake Superior. There, you can take a short walk from the parking lot to the lake (crossing a narrow, nice bridge if you REALLY want to get to the lake). Nice and easy.
Then, you can visit one or more areas on the Black River. Each of them has a small/medium size waterfall and has its own parking lot.
From the North side, you will first arrive at the Rainbow Falls. It is a short, but steep hike down the wooden stairs. Nice view of the waterfall, you can also get off the trail and walk up to the river if you so wish without (too much) risking a broken leg. Bring your fishing gear if you so wish.
Then, going South, you will arrive at Sandstone Falls. It was our favorite one. There is a short walk (wooden stairs again), then you arrive at the pretty flat area of the river with small waterfalls. Great (the best) area of the river for the kids to play.
Next one South is Potawatomi and Gorge Falls. There are separate parking lots for each of them, take whichever you like, you will be able to see both of them as there is a walking trail that links them next to the river. This hike is short (the easiest of them all), but you only see the waterfalls from above.
All of the above hikes are between 1/4 to 1/2 mile one way from their respective parking lots
The furthest one to the South is the Great Conglomerate Falls. This is the longest hike (3/4 mile one way) but it is also not as steep as others (and there are no wooden stairs). The trail leads to a viewpoint above the falls.
The last three falls are connected via a trail that leads next to the river. We did not take it, as we wanted to explore the whole area before we bring the rest of the family back here and we only had 3 hours.
Expect a lot of up and down hiking. My cell phone showed 57 floors. I can believe that.
Overall, it is a great area for a family trip, half day if you want to just hike, but you can easily stretch it to the whole day and hang out for hours by the river. There is also a trail on the other side of the river. It seemed picturesque, we saw people going up and down there, but did not have time to explore it.
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