Skip navigation

Category Archives: Bonanza Falls

Our first stop in the morning was Bonanza Falls. I spent most of my time this trip taking intimate photos of the waterfalls.

We headed out early in the morning to catch the sunrise at Bonanza Falls. As I mentioned in an earlier blog there was more water than normal flowing over the falls. What really makes Bonanza falls so interesting is the large number of small waterfalls that can be found flowing over the upturned rock formations.



After taking a few photographs before the sun came up we decided to find the fisherman’s trail along the river and look for some some more waterfalls before the sun reached the far shore. Overnight we had a chance to read the Waterfalls of Michigan by Phil Stagg and he indicated there were a few more falls to be found. We had visited Bonanza Falls many time but had never walked down stream. A side benefit of walking down the fisherman’s trail was finding an easier way to reach the river. In the past we had climbed down the steep embankment but it had become more difficult over time. We did find a couple of nice waterfalls.



The sun was starting to hit the far shore so we walked back to the main falls area for a few last photographs.




After getting a bite to eat we drove out to Bonanza Falls to photograph at sunset. As I had mentioned in earlier blogs there was a lot of water flowing in the rivers. Bonanza Falls also had more water than normal. Generally I like less as opposed to more water flowing because it provides more opportunities for intimate shots of the waterfalls.






On our recent trip to the UP of Michigan we spent some time photographing at Bonanza Falls. The fall colors were spectacular but the water levels in the falls were very low so the waterfalls were not that interesting.

More photos of Bonanza Falls can be found on my website.









We were up early the next morning. It had been blowing all night and we could hear the large waves hitting the beach. We drove down to Union Bay to photograph the waves. They were so high that they were coming over the road in a few places.

Union Bay Porcupine Mountains 15-10-_1081

Since we had already driven through the park a number of times we decided to drive out past Bonanza Falls to capture a few photos of the falls in the morning light with the clouds in the background.


Our next stop was Superior Falls just outside of Hurley Wisconsin. I was hoping the water levels were low enough so I could walk around a rocky point and get a straight on shot of the falls from the bottom. Unfortunately the water levels were too high. There were a number of other photographers there and one of them climbed over the rocks to get the shot but I’m getting to old for that. This is a photo of the mouth of the river.


It was getting late in the morning so we decided to drive over to Cornucopia, Wisconsin and have lunch. We made a brief stop at the Cornucopia Beach. There were some nice waves so we decided to drive down to Meyers Beach and walk out above the sea caves to watch the waves.


When we arrived at Meyers Beach we were in the process of filling out the parking registration when my wife recognized the couple in the car next to us. Turns out it was one of our sons best friends and his wife. What a small world.

The hike out to the sea caves has changed since our last visit a couple of years ago. The Park Service has installed a boardwalk for the first mile of the trail. It makes it much easier to walk and I’m sure it reduces the wear and tear on the trail.

When we reached the sea caves the waves had subsided a bit but it was still a great hike on a beautiful day. We hiked back and headed for our cabin in Duluth.


This past week we took a road trip to the U.P. of Michigan. We were searching for fall colors but didn’t know where the search would lead us.
Our first night was spent in Ironwood, Michigan. The colors in the area were past peak and were mainly earth tones. When we left home the weather report indicated that we would have four beautiful days. By the time we reached Ironwood the weather report was indicating snow.

The next morning we decided to drive over to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and check out the fall color. Usually close to Lake Superior the colors turn a little later in the fall. As we drove through the Porkies we found the fall colors to be at their peak so we decided to spend our time in the Porkies.

Bonanza falls

Bonanza falls

We decided to drive over to the eastern side of the park so we could catch the morning light at Bonanza falls. As it turned out the fall colors were the best I’ve seen them. Unfortunately the drought has left the water level at Bonanza falls the lowest I’ve ever seen it.


After leaving Bonanza Falls we made a brief stop at Union Bay to photograph the high waves. This is the first time we have been at Union Bay for several years and were surprised to find that most of the beach was gone because of the high water levels in Lake Superior.


We then drove up to the Lake of the Clouds. The fall colors in the interior were spectacular although with the strong winds blowing they would not last long. We spent quite a bit of time photographing from the viewing area then started hiking along the top of the ridge toward the east end of the Lake.


We then headed back to the South Boundary Road with a stop at the Summit Peak viewing area. The trees on the way up to the viewing stand were backlit and had a beautiful yellow glow.


After hiking to the top of Summit Peak we raced back toward Ironwood and drove down to the Black Harbor which is my favorite location for taking reflection shots. I was hoping we would make it before the sun set and we did but just barely. Late in the afternoon is a great time to photograph at this location because of the late afternoon light. We closed our day photographing at Black Harbor before returning to Ironwood.Black-River-Harbor-Reflections-15-10-_2662

Most of the waterfalls in the Marquette and Munising area. It is generally easy to visit them on a short trip. The two outliers are Haven Park which is over by Calumet and Tahquamenon Falls which is near Paradise, Michigan.

Bonanza Falls is located near Silver City just outside of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. It is really several small waterfalls. If the water levels are low it is easy to walk out into the Iron River to photograph the falls. I like to photograph them late in the evening and early in the morning.


Bond Falls is my favorite waterfall in the UP. It can be photographed any time of the year and provides some excellent photography opportunities. It is particularly popular in the fall when you may need to stand in line at some locations because of their popularity.

Bond Falls

Bond Falls

Canyon Falls is located just up the road from Bond Falls. It is located on the Sturgeon River. I’ve only been able to hit the peak color along the river once but it was very impressive on that visit.

Canyon Falls

Canyon Falls

Yellow Dog Falls is located near Marquette, Michigan. It is reached on a long dirt road followed by about a mile hike to the first of the waterfalls. The drive to the falls is spectacular during the fall color season.

Yellow Dog Falls

Yellow Dog Falls

Laughing Whitefish Falls is located between Munising and Marquette. It is a very impressive waterfall when there is sufficient water flowing over the falls. Some years the dirt road into the falls is filled with large potholes.

Laughing Whitefish Falls

Laughing Whitefish Falls

Haven Park Falls is one of the outliers. It is located in Lac La Belle, Michigan. It is not all that spectacular as a waterfall but it is a beautiful location for photographing the fall colors.

Haven Park

Haven Park

Tahquamenon Falls is another outlier located near Paradise, Michigan. As a waterfall it is the largest and most spectacular. It is very popular in the fall. One day I counted cars from 16 different states in the parking lot.

Tahquamenon Falls

Tahquamenon Falls

I’ve compiled a list of my five favorite fall photography destinations. The links go to additional photos on my website.

Black River– The black river offers some great waterfall photography but my favorite location is under the bridge at the mouth of the river where I love to take reflection shots.

Black River Harbor Reflections

Black River Harbor Reflections

Bonanza Falls – Offers great color and some intimate waterfall shots

Bonanza Falls

Bonanza Falls

Bond Falls – One of my favorite waterfalls. Expect large numbers of photographers at the start of the fall colors.

Bond Falls

Bond Falls

Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hill – Stunning views of the Lake Superior Basin. The ride to the top is a thrill in itself.

Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hill

Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hill

Hiawatha National Forest – A favorite location for fall photography offering a number of lakes that are best photographed at sunrise. See my Blog for more information on locations.

Thornton Lake

Thornton Lake

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Offers a wide variety of photography locations from the Lake of the Clouds, Union Bay on Lake Superior to mountain streams and waterfalls.

Lake of the Clouds

Lake of the Clouds

I was trying to decide where to head in the morning to view the sunrise. I had three or four possible locations but it looked like the sunrise would be one without clouds so I decided to visit Bonanza Falls. It turned out to be an excellent choice. When dawn came the it reflected off of the few clouds in the sky and along with the red rocks at the falls created quite a sight.




More photos from Bonanza Falls can be found on my website.

Bonanza Falls

Bonanza Falls is located just outside Silver City, Michigan on the Big Iron River.   I had driven by these wonderful little falls many times on my travels through the U.P. but had never stopped. For some reason I had it confused with another waterfall that was difficult to find. I thought I the falls could only be reached with 4WD vehicle over a few miles of rough roads.

Bonanza Falls

One morning after a visit to Lake of the Clouds, in Porcupine Wilderness State Park I had some time to kill so I decided to try and make it to Bonanza Falls. Turns out the Falls is about 150 yards off of the main road. What a surprise! I spent about an hour walking around the falls taking photographs. As I looked at the view across the Big Iron River I noticed a little color in the trees and thought this would be a great place to take some fall photographs. This photo is from a later visit in the fall.

Bonanza FallsOn a subsequent trip to the area I had planned to drive out to Union Bay to Photograph the Sunset. Unfortunately as I neared Union Bay I realized that the heavy overcast was not going to clear. I decided to stop at Bonanza Falls. The low light levels allowed me to capture some amazing fall photographs of the falls.

Bonanza Falls

On another Visit to the I drove up to Lake of the Clouds to photograph the sunrise. Unfortunately it was cloudy and the wind was so strong that I could barely keep the tripod upright. I decided to pack it in and started back to my motel in White Pine. As I neared Bonanza Falls I noticed that there was a little clearing in the clouds and some nice light. I pulled in to Bonanza falls to have a look. There were some great clouds and light.

Bonanza Falls

What is so amazing about photographing at Bonanza Falls is that if you hit it at the right water levels there will be many small waterfalls and pools of water winding through and over the rock uplifts that you can photograph. The site has two main falls Bonanza and at the west side of the river Greenwood. In between there are many other falls to photograph.

The areas is also interesting because of the rock uplift. the rocks at the bottom of the river are uplifted at a severe angle. In the right conditions you can almost walk across the Big Iron River on the uplifted rock photographing small waterfalls all along the way.

More Photos of the area can be found on my website.

%d bloggers like this: