Making The Most Of U.P. Life

River with fall colors

If you’re moving to the U.P. or you’re a lifelong Yooper who is moving to a new home, friends and family may ask to visit. This blog shows 5 awe-inspiring places you can take your visitors to Celebrate U.P. Living.

We’ll show you some popular and off-the-beaten-path sites, with some destinations that require hiking ability and some that are appropriate for people who have some mobility issues.

Canyon River Falls

Canyon River Falls. Photo by Rebecca Jones, Flickr.

Have you ever seen water run uphill? It’s a jaw-dropping sight at Canyon River Falls, about an hour west of Marquette.

Water gushes past moss-covered layers of slate rocks at least 30 feet high. The river flows with such force at one point downstream that it keeps flowing along a slight incline. Mini waterfalls appear as far as the eye can see.

a river with high rock banks
Canyon River Falls photo by Jeffrey Jones, Flickr.

You may not think there’s much to see at this easy-to-miss roadside attraction off U.S. 41 seven miles south of L’Anse. It looks like a rest stop and picnic area. A short but swampy hike (with improvised boardwalks) leads the way along the Sturgeon River, with impressive rapids and plenty of photo ops.

When you reach the main falls, don’t stop there. Careful hikers can climb down the gorge to get a better view, or hike further downstream to take in as much of this gift of nature as possible.

Moving Experience: 10/10


Sugarloaf Mountain

cloudy sky with trees and rocks in foreground This may not meet the standards of an actual mountain, but Sugarloaf Mountain just a few miles north of downtown Marquette offers amazing views of the Lake Superior coastline, Presque Isle and the city.

You have two options: the “easy” hike or the “difficult” route. Don’t be fooled, as neither one is easy. You’ll climb more wooden steps than you care to count, and you’ll pass hikers on their way down, some offering encouraging words, and some saying, “you still have a long way to go.”

This trip is about the journey as much as the destination. Granite rocks and old trees line the path and the summit itself is about 1000 feet above sea level.

A stone monument at the top of Sugarloaf was built by a Boy Scout Troop to commemorate their assistant scoutmaster, Bartlett King, who fought and died in World War I.

Pro tip: Dusk and the sunset from Sugarloaf is amazing, but remember, you have to walk back down in the dark. Be careful and bring a flashlight. Afterward, treat yourself to a filling dinner in downtown Marquette, and perhaps a local brew.

Moving Experience: 8/10

Thomas Rock Scenic Overlook


a view over a bay with fall colors
View from the top of Thomas Rock

A leisurely walk with high payoff, Thomas Rock Scenic Overlook is just about an hour from Marquette.

Well-suited for people with some mobility issues, the trail is gravel, and there are no stairs. There are plenty of benches along the way.

At the top of the area once known as Gobbler’s Knob, you’ll get views of the Keweenaw Peninsula, Lake Superior and Big Bay. In the fall, the colors are so gorgeous as to make you think the trees are individual flowers in a bouquet. There’s not much to do at the top, but sit back and enjoy the view.

Moving Experience: 7/10


The Falls, Bond Falls

a large waterfall
Bond Falls
a series of waterfalls
Maybe this is what heaven looks like when you arrive…

Remember the old commercials, “Calgon, Take Me Away!”

Bond Falls may very well be the magical bathtub experience you get in Heaven. The main falls have about a 50-foot drop.

As spectacular as the falls are, however, it’s not the main falls that make this a sight to see. It’s the way the falls keep going. More and more falls, staggered along. A  concrete stairway takes you just past the flowing falls, and in true U.P. fashion, there are also dirt trails with tree roots to navigate.

The continuous waterflow is fed by a hydroelectric dam.

The path to the main falls is stroller and wheelchair-accessible and leads to viewing platforms.
“It’s not the main falls that make this a sight to see. It’s the way the falls keep going…”


Moving Experience: 10/10




Sturgeon River Falls

a large beautiful waterfall
Sturgeon River Falls. Photo by Rebecca Jones.

A large, amazing and undervisited waterfall, Sturgeon River Falls is a must if you love hiking and are looking for adventure. This waterfall is 30 feet high — as tall as a three-story building. It’s found in a rugged gorge with massive boulders and 20-foot cliffs. Cedar trees line either side of the river. To find the falls you’ll have to hike quite a distance through hardwood forest. The footpath is narrow but easy to follow. However, the hike back up the gorge is strenuous.

To get there, take M-38 to Prickett Dam. Set your GPS for N46 38.574 W 88 41.628.

You won’t find any gift shop at this destination, but the experience will leave you in awe.

Moving Experience: 8/10


Of course we can’t fit every beautiful site here in this blog. Do you have something to add? Let us know on our Facebook page.