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“Excellent half day hike”

Ottawa National Forest
Ranked #2 of 18 things to do in Ironwood
Attraction details
Reviewed 13 August 2018

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.

1  Thank TJCZ1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"black river"
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"suspension bridge"
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"rainbow falls"
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"great area"
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"hiking trails"
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"lake superior"
in 3 reviews
"campground"
in 5 reviews
"nature"
in 7 reviews
"lakes"
in 10 reviews
"fishing"
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"wildlife"
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"potawatomi"
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4 - 8 of 54 reviews

Reviewed 27 July 2018 via mobile

We took the trail from Black River Harbor in the morning for the best view of the falls. It’s about a mile and totally worth it! The view of the falls from the observation deck is underwhelming. So hiking up from the west side of Black River is a must!

Thank Jill A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 July 2018 via mobile

After the disappointment of Copper Peak we were sure glad our innkeeper pointed the falls out to us on the area map. It’s a short walk from the parking lot through the forest to the each of the falls. The stairs were well built but slippery in a few spots.

Thank VegasWife702
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2018 via mobile

The harbor and waterfalls are great natural wonders!!! The trails are very well maintained and vary in intensity!!! My wife is not an outdoors type person, but she loved them!!!

Thank Sean R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 22 September 2017 via mobile

Absolutely loved the trails, waterfalls, and parks in the forest.

There are several waterfalls that are 1/8 to 3/4 of a miles from the parking lot. Many include lots of stairs and paths full of tree roots. But go. The walk back through the forest is awe inspiring and magical.

1  Thank Dusty F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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