Wonderful waters: Swimming, lakes, waterfalls & more

There’s lots of water to explore in the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County, from rushing waterfalls to the majesty of Lake Superior. Whether you’re looking for a swimming spot on a hot day or seeking a scenic hiking route for your next Instagram post, here’s the inside info on how to get on (or in) the water this summer.

Where can I go swimming?

When you’re on the shores of the greatest Great Lake, the swimming opportunities don’t disappoint. Take the plunge into the crystal-clear waters of Lake Superior on the sandy beaches of Union Bay along M-107 (the highway that leads into the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park). There’s also a public beach at Ontonagon Township Park, about a mile east of downtown Ontonagon. Staying overnight? Several local lodging properties are either located directly on Lake Superior or provide easy access to the lake.

If you’re headed to Bond Falls, be sure to spend some time at the nearby beach and picnic area on the northern shores of the Bond Falls Flowage. Head east from the Bond Falls Scenic Site, and you’ll find the beach (complete with a parking area) on the south side of Bond Falls Road.

What are some other lakes to explore?

There’s only one Lake Superior, but the lakes inside the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness Park offer great scenery and recreational opportunities as well. Lake of the Clouds, located in the Carp River Valley, offers a fully-accessible scenic overlook—a popular spot for photos—that sits at the end of M-107. Hikers can reach the lake via the scenic Big Carp River Trail and the Escarpment Trail. Mirror Lake is a remote lake inside the state park that can be reached via several trails, including the South Mirror Lake Trail and the Little Carp River Trail. Both lakes provide unique fishing opportunities.

What about waterfalls?

Did you know that the western Upper Peninsula is home to dozens of waterfalls? Visit some of these scenic cascades on your next trip to the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County. Popular roadside stops include Bond Falls, Agate Falls and the waterfalls of the Black River Scenic Byway. There are also several backcountry falls located inside the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Learn more about the area’s waterfalls (and see a handy map) here.

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