Forty-Foot Falls on Cliff River

long, sliding drop on the Cliff River

Looking up at Cliff Falls
  • Campsite above the falls
  • Upper drop
  • Looking up at Cliff Falls
  • Long cascade of Forty-Foot Falls
  • Sideview of the cascades

Also known as Cliff Falls, this drop is a long, gentle cascade down a well-worn slab of granite nestled between huge cedars. The river breaks out in white foam on a few of the steeper pitches, but most of Forty-Foot Falls is more of a gentle slide than steep waterfall. There is a camping site right above the falls with a handy cedar bridge for crossing the deep, clear waters.


From Big Erick's Bridge head east down Erick's Road for 4 miles, turning left onto the Northwestern Road. Take this for 2.2 miles to a small, sandy area with relatively young pines stretching away to the right. Turn left here, driving past the Cliff Falls Hunting Club. After 1.5 miles bear right, staying with the river, and then park after an additional 1 mile. Park near the camping site and head downhill to the waterall.

Comments (10)

  • Gary Darling Feb 15, '16 Nice photos of the falls and a good description. Looks like you were there fairly early in the season since there is still snow along the edge of the falls. I have owned that 320 acre parcel with Cliff Falls since 1991. The land is listed under Michigan's Commercial Forest Act and is therefore open to the general public for fishing and hunting. I plan to keep it open to all because the falls is a unique spot and so many have enjoyed it. I will be making some road improvements in the next year or two and will be doing a selective harvest on the area east of the river. Love your blog. Lots of good info and pics for anyone heading outdoors! I live in Champion, MI.
    • Jacob Emerick Mar 2, '16 It's great to hear from you, Gary! I've always wondered who owned that land. Are you also part of the hunting club on that road too?Thanks for reaching out, and much more importantly, thanks for keeping this land open for us all to enjoy! It is a very scenic area (and hopefully future visitors will respect that).
    • Gary Darling Sep 24, '16 The log foot bridge has been gone for a few years now. I plan to put in a new one, but I'm not sure when. Longyear just put a temporary bridge in near the north line of section 10 for access to harvest in section 3. It will be there for maybe 2 years. I will be improving the road into the falls this October (2016) from the Big Bay road down past the Cliff Falls Club camp and into the 40 Foot Falls. I will also be doing road work on the land east of the river in section 10. I will be marking the timber for a selective thinning and plan to harvest in 2017 or 2018. I am friends with the other land owners near the falls, but I am not any type of "club member". I'm more of a "loner"!
    • Jacob P Emerick Oct 3, '16 Oh, the foot bridge is gone? Must have been a strong melt to push it down (or maybe someone took it out on purpose. Is the old camp still set up? I wondered if people would continue to respect/use it appropriately.Road work, eh? That's awesome! So many of these little side roads get so damaged once the logging companies are done. It was shocking to see how well some of the roads between Ives and Mountain were maintained, but I suppose that the HMC might be paying someone to upkeep those. Happy to hear what you're up to :)
    • Chuck Peruchini Nov 30, '16 Gentlemen: Just a quick comment. First, Jacob, I absolutely enjoy this website and your blog sharing your hiking adventures in the UP. I purchased my camp in the Huron Mountains in 2012, and I have been busy since then exploring this vast and special area.Second, I believe I met Gary in October, while he was transporting equipment to conduct the road improvement he describes in his note above. We met on a remote part of the Triple A (he said he had come up the Peshekee). We spoke for a few moments, and he couldn't have been more gracious and helpful. I echo your expressions of thanks to Gary for his placing the 40 Foot Falls in CFR. You each are class acts. I hope I bump into you on one of my future visits to the Huron Mountains. Sure wish I could be up there now!!
    • Jacob Emerick Dec 2, '16 Great to hear from you, Chuck! That's so neat that you bumped into Gary up there. Hope you get up there to kick back at the camp soon.
    • Mark Tembreull Dec 9, '16 Jacob, I just wanted to let you know how great I think this website is, along with your hiking blog. I was born and raised in L'Anse and I find the quality and extent of what you've documented to be both fascinating and unparalleled. I'll definitely be using these as a reference for future adventures. Well done and thank you.
    • Jacob P Emerick Dec 14, '16 Thanks Mark, glad to hear from you! Definitely appreciate the kind words. Hope you have some great adventures in the near future.
    • Greg Ledbetter Sep 16, '21 Four of us just got back from Big was a challenge finding 40' Falls but worth it..thanks to Gary for keeping it open to public. We came up here from Morton Illinois and was a very nice long weekend.
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  • Chris Hintz Jul 2, '22 Went for a visit yesterday. Since we had big storms the night before, I expected downed trees and washout (on Ford) but other than a couple of branches it was an easy drive in, and the sand was stable to drive on by Anderson Corner since it was still wet-ish and packed. Really an impressive falls, and you can drive right up to it! Not that I mind a good hike in! Appreciate your site and the fact that it still exists as a resource for all these great waterfalls.Add to this discussion
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