The Black River Waterfalls Trails are located north of Bessemer in Michigan’s Gogebic County. Along the Black River National Scenic By-Way, within the Ottawa National Forest, you will find a series of five awe inspiring waterfalls.
Great Conglomerate is the first of the five beginning upstream of the river. The trail is about ¾ mile from the marked Potawatomi/Gorge Falls parking lot. The trail includes stairs and an observation platforms. This waterfall drops 30 feet (9.1 m) and when the water is lower, it splits in two around large conglomerate rock. Hence where the name was derived.
Potawatomi Falls can be reached from the same parking lot as the Great Conglomerate. The trail is about 1/8 mile long with an observation platform. The falls has a 30 foot (9.1 m) drop of white water and is 130 feet (39.6 m) wide. This waterfall is wheelchair accessible.
Next is Gorge Falls and just downstream from Potawatomi Falls. The trail is about 1/8 miles with plenty of stairs to an observation platform. This waterfall is 25 feet (7.6 m) high with a narrow crest of 10 feet (3 m). The deep and narrow gorge above and bellow the falls is where it gets it’s name.
Sandstone Fall is the smallest of the waterfalls and the trail is approximately ¼ mile. The hike is short but steep with a series of stairs. The falls is 15 feet (4.5 m) high and 30 feet (9 m) wide cascading over sandstone and conglomerate rock.
Rainbow Falls is the last of five waterfalls in the Black River before meeting Lake Superior. You can access the waterfall two ways – park at the Black River Harbor parking lot and cross the suspension bridge over the river and hike upstream for about ½ a mile, or at the Rainbow Falls parking area where you hike about ¾ miles to a set of stairs leading down to a viewing platform. Rainbow Falls is 40 feet (12 m) high and with the perfect amount of sunlight and at the angle, the mist produces a rainbow effect.