Alder Falls on Alder Creek

ruggedly beautiful set of falls near Big Bay

Looking at the main curtain, speckled with fall leaves
  • Looking at the main curtain, speckled with fall leaves
  • Second drop
  • Small drop into a deep, dark pool
  • Upstream drop
  • Path down to Alder Falls
  • Engorged Alder Falls
  • Side view of the springtime flow
  • Lake Independence in the distance

Set deep in a narrow gorge and draining a small swamp, Alder Falls twists and winds its way around massive Huron Mountain outcroppings to form several waterfalls. The largest drop is around ten feet high, fanning down black volcanic rock in a spreading cascade. A jumble of large rocks below the drop allow easy direct views of the shaded waterfall while serving as a reminder of the power held within the small creek.

Upstream from the main drop and a few smooth, tiny dips is the second waterfall. Sliding along a huge angled slab of rock, Alder Creek pours over a rocky obstruction to form a jumbled and foaming five foot waterfall. Continuing up the river, past a sharp twist, lies the third drop, a series of tiny chutes pouring into a deep, inaccessible pool. The final waterfall is a short distance beyond this, another tiny chute wedged between boulders and pouring into a mess of rocks.

On either side of the third and fourth drops are two large outcroppings. With low leaf cover Lake Independence is visible in the east from the tops of these mounds. A few fire rings and some litter mark these spots as frequent camping spots. Also close by are the eastern and western Alder Hills.


Turn west off of County Road 550 on the sandy two-track that is three miles south of Big Bay (just past a house and large metal machine shed). An open area for parking opens up on the right side about .7 miles up the road, park here and head down the path leading northwest down the steep hill. The well-defined path leads right to the first, largest waterfall.

To get to the other drops just head upstream. Paths wind their way around a bit and the river isn't hard to follow. The large pool below the third drop is difficult to get around and may involve climbing up one of the steep outcroppings. The outcropping on the left offers views of Lake Independence (depending on leaf cover), so stick to that side to go up and around to the last waterfall.

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