Location: Marquette County, Michigan
I read somewhere that 40 foot falls, also known as Cliff Falls, is Michigan’s most remote waterfall. While it is true that it is remote, it is also frequently visited. Nevertheless, it’s easy to see why this waterfall draws so much attention.
During our short stay at the falls, there were a few different groups of people arriving to visit. All of which arrived on ATVs or in vehicles with high clearance and off-road capability. It would be difficult to visit otherwise.
Similiar to Laughing White Fish Falls, 40 foot falls meanders along the Cliff River. The drop is subtle compared to most waterfalls. Elegant rather than raging and powerful.
Marigold Marshes lined the river banks, and brilliant green moss covered exposed rock. It felt almost like stepping into an enchanted forest.
There are a couple of different routes you can take to get to the falls. For both routes, we came from the east. There is way from the west but because we didn’t take that route, I’m not familiar with it.
If you’re using Google Maps, keep in mind that the route isn’t updated. AAA was recently re-done and Google Maps hasn’t been updated with the new road.
Northwestern Road Route
Head west on 510 from Big Bay. It will turn into AAA. Roughly 3 miles, turn right onto Northwestern Road. There is a road sign here.
Continue on Northwestern Road for about 13.1 miles. This will take you across extremely rocky road and some muddy, logging areas.
Take a slight right onto an unnamed road and continue for about 2.5 to 3 miles. You will drive past the Cliff Falls Hunting Club. Continue, staying right, for about 1.5 miles to reach the parking area and waterfall.
Ford Road Route
Head west on 510 and continue on AAA past the Eagle Mine. It’s about 10 miles.
Turn right onto Ford Road. In about 3.2 miles, you’ll turn left to stay on Ford Road. Continue for 1.1 miles before turning onto Northwestern Road. Drive for about 0.8 miles and take a right onto the unnamed road.
Again, you will drive past the Cliff Falls Hunting Club. Continue, staying right, for about 1.5 miles to reach the parking area and the waterfall.
This route is much more sandy than Northwestern but we found it to be faster. It also is an active logging area which may make it difficult to traverse the roads after heavy rain fall.