Forestville Dam Falls on Dead River

a dam on the Dead River that does not disappoint

Large rocks blocking the waterfall
  • Towering dam above the river
  • Snowy rocks around the falls
  • Ice hanging off the penstock
  • Ripples over Forestville Basin
  • Down at the falls
  • Large rocks blocking the waterfall

The Dead River is penned up in five separate dams as it flows east to Lake Superior. Some of these dams do not have any waterfalls formed from the overflow, or if they do, they are small and tamed by artificial means. Forestville Dam is an exception.

An outflow pipe empties a short height below the top of the reservior onto jagged rocks, churning a short distance before plunging suddenly down into a rugged cut of rock. While a penstock takes some of the river's flow further downstream to the power station there is still a large amount of water flowing over the falls. A huge spur of rock in the middle of the river makes it difficult to view this waterfall directly from the river banks.

Directions

There are two ways to reach this waterfall. The easier way is to park off of Wright Street, about 1.2 miles north of US-41, by a gated two-track leading down the hill by a lot of power lines. Follow the two track downhill, turning left with the road when you reach the penstock. Crawl underneath the penstock when you near the dam, preferrably just before passing the sitting water on the left side of the road, and head upstream on the rocky island to view the falls. Note: can be seen by following the penstock right instead of left.

A better, though more dangerous view, can be seen from the other side of the river. There are a few ways to do this, one of the more scenic routes starts 1.6 miles north of US-41 off of Wright Street. Park here at the gate and follow the dirt road over the Dead River and past the brick power station. Continue on the dirt road to the large sandy area. Climb this and head left with the power lines, veering right with the trail before running back into the river (note: some of these paths going left meet up with the paths near Wright Street Falls). The path will run roughly parallel to the Dead River with the bank always on your left side and will end at the Forestville Basin. A small wooden bench sits here with views overlooking the dam. Head down the crumbling rock bank to get different angles of Forestville Dam Falls.

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