The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Potato River, Bond Falls listed in online top 10


Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

THURSDAY MORNING sunshine reflects off the upper falls of the Potato River near Gurney, Wis. The waterfalls on the river have dropped to seasonal norms, but still provide some spectacular scenery at any time of the day, or year.

Two of the area's numerous waterfalls have been identified by as in the top 10 in America.

The secluded Potato River Falls, in Gurney, Wis., and Bond Falls, in Paulding, are among the best in the country, according to CNN.

"You're likely to sweat a little to get to some of the best waterfalls, but they deliver a cool refuge and a powerful reminder of nature's force," Caitlin Schmidt writes in the CNN online article.

Of Potato River Falls, in the heart of Gurney's potato and corn country, she says, "When most people think of the Midwest, waterfalls don't immediately spring to mind. Change your thinking: Potato River Falls has been called one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the region. Located at the end of Potato River Falls Road in a county park, the falls are easily viewable from several trails."

Gurney residents said since the online article appeared over the weekend, scores of people have been visiting the river. The gravel road is not well marked with signs and there has been some confusion among tourists about locating the falls. Finding them is half the fun.

The waterfalls, including both the upper and lower cascades, plunge 90 feet.

To get to the upper falls from the parking lot, take the trail about a quarter mile upstream. A lengthy stairway leads down the side of the hill for a spectacular view.

"On the trail that leads to upper falls, hikers can access the top of Potato River Falls by following the river bank. Autumn visitors will also be treated to some wonderful opportunities to photograph the fall colors," Schmidt says.

There are other unmarked trails that lead to the river's banks.

There are few amenities at the end of the gravel road, other than an outhouse, but there are two overlooks and wooden steps placed in a youth corps forestry department project years ago lead to the riverbank about a quarter mile downstream from the main falls.

Potato River empties into the Bad River and provides trout fishing opportunities for Lake Superior-run fish, mostly in the spring and fall, and also a resident population of brookies, browns and rainbows.

There's natural rainbow and brookie reproduction in the crystal clear river water.

A special treat is to watch rainbows unsuccessfully try to climb the falls in the spring.

Bond Falls is called, "One of the best kept secrets of Michigan's Western Upper Peninsula, a 40-foot drop that extends 100 feet wide and divides into several smaller cascades."

On the middle branch of the Ontonagon River, the falls have been designated a Michigan State Scenic site, Schmidt notes.

"Bond Falls is very accessible, with a level boardwalk from the parking area near the base of the falls leading visitors to a viewing point," she said.

The Gogebic Range's scores of waterfalls are best viewed in the spring, when the water is raging, but can be breathtaking at any time of the year.


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