First Falls on East Branch Escanaba River

tiny drop above a deep, dark pool in Gwinn

Large pond below the tiny waterfall
  • Platform over the river
  • Large pond below the tiny waterfall
  • Tiny rapids

After a short jaunt through The Sands, the East Branch Escanaba River flows through Gwinn over two tiny, easily missed drops before joining up with the main branch of the Escanaba. These two drops are located just north of the Farquar-Metsa Tourist Park named First Falls and Second Falls, so named in the order that you see them. First Falls is a tiny drop that barely breaks the surface of the river above a deep, murky pool, a pool that is lined on one side with a questionable swimming beach.


From the junction of County Road 553 and M-35 head west into Gwinn for 1.4 miles before turning right onto Carbon Street. Stay on Carbon Street for several blocks until Cherry Alley cuts it off on a diagonal, turning left on Cherry. One house later is Iron Street, but across the street is the Farquar-Metsa Tourist Park. Enter the park, staying on the one-way road and going past the campsites. The paved road eventually loops around but there is a dirt path down to a pavilion and a pool on the river on the right side. Either park on the loop or drive down the dirt road and park by the pavilion.

First Falls is located at the head of this pool. If you want to see Second Falls as well then head up the river, past this drop, following the path upstream. There are a few branches that cut off to the river, probably made by fishermen. Continue on the main path to the sloped rock slab and the second waterfall.

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