Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hiking the Lists #8: Munising Falls

Hike: #8
Title: Munising Falls
Location: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Hike List: UP Michigan
Difficulty: Mostly Easy (Save for one walk up stairs)
Duration of Hike: A short walk to a beautiful waterfall

The cliffs of Pictured Rock offer many scenic sites. The most famous and picturesque are the multicolored rock faces and formations along the shoreline. These sites, viewed primarily by getting on a boat and viewing them from the water, give the place its name. However, there are also many waterfalls of varying size and ease of access. Probably the easiest of the park's waterfalls to visit is Munising Falls. The easy walk to view the waterfall doesn't make it any less beautiful.

This is not a tough hike, at least not to get to the main viewing platform. There are a couple stairways that branch off the main path to higher viewing points, both of which used to be access points to a walkway behind the falls. This has been closed for several years, as erosion has worn away most of the path and made it excessively dangerous to walk behind it. For the purposes of this trail, only one of the stairways is necessary to climb to get to an overlook. It offers a view from a different angle, but isn't much better than the main overlook.

If you are new to Pictured Rocks, and have just arrived in Munising, this is a great first stop. right on the edge of town. Because of its beauty and proximity to town, it can get busy, although each time I've visited it wasn't too busy. Near the restrooms and parking lot is where the Lakeshore trail begins. It is a 42 mile backpacking trail that goes from Munising to Grand Marais through the park, and is a part of the North Country Trail, that goes from North Dakota to New York.

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