The Waterfalls of the Presque Isle River

Location: Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Streaming through the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is a beautiful and scenic river known as Presque Isle River. Enjoy hiking a 2.3-mile loop around this stunning river. Waterfalls, potholes, and Lake Superior await you.

The trail to most of the waterfalls is pretty smooth

Presque Isle River is 42.1 miles long and flows through the Upper Peninsula, including Ottawa National Forest. It empties into Lake Superior in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Within the last mile, the river drops several feet creating a series of low falls and cascades known as the waterfalls of Presque Isle River.

Nawadaha Falls

Nawadaha Falls
Nawadaha Falls From our 2013 visit

Within this stretch, the farthest upstream waterfall is Nawadaha Falls. It is the smallest waterfall in the series. When the water is high, the falls turns more into rapids than a waterfall.

Steve on the NCT trail
Steve reading the trail sign

Manido Falls

Manido Falls, photograph by Amie Lucas
Manido Falls from our 2018 visit

Roughly a half-mile downstream is Manido Falls. About 25 feet in height, this multiple drop waterfall is one of my favorite in the series. I enjoy visiting it in the low water season because it’s easier to see the rock surrounding it. Over the years, the rock has been eroded into beautiful potholes and smooth shapes.

Manabezho Falls

Manabezho Falls in the winter
Manabezho Falls from our 2015 winter visit

Downstream 0.23 miles from Manido Falls is the most impressive waterfall in the series. Manabezho Falls is 20 to 25 feet in height and is a single drop. Like Manido, my favorite time to visit is when the water levels are low. While very powerful in the spring, the water hides a lot of the rock textures.

Manabezho Falls
Manabezho Falls from our 2013 visit

The Potholes

The Potholes
“The Potholes” from our 2018 visit

Not technically waterfalls but extremely unique, the Potholes are just upstream from Lake Superior. These are a series of cascades caused by deep erosion. When the river is low, these potholes become more prominent.

Additional Waterfalls

Outside of the park, Presque Isle River is also home to Iagoo Falls, Lepisto Falls, Nokomis Falls, Nimikon Falls, Minnewawa Falls, and Yondota Falls. We have yet to visit these ones.

Getting There

To access Presque Isle River, follow the South Boundary Road to the west side of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. This will take you toward the Presque Isle Campground.

Turn north onto Presque Isle road. There are several parking areas along this road that accesses the trail. If you reach the campground, you’ve gone too far.

Note that in the winter South Boundary Road is closed.

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