Upper Mulligan Falls on Mulligan Creek

water flows out of a deep pool over a smooth basalt pillow

Gushing angry water over the rock pillow
  • Rock walls stained by the tainted waters
  • Wide swamp along the river
  • Cresting swamp
  • Roaring waterfall on Mulligan Creek
  • Gushing angry water over the rock pillow

Dark water drains from a deep pool ringed by swamp over a smooth pillow of basalt to form the tallest single plunge on Mulligan Creek. There are plenty of other rapids and drops both up and downstream of Upper Mulligan Falls. None come close to this elegant rock formation and surprising height. Also, located miles from Mulligan Plains and north of the Silver Lake Basin, the remote area does not see too many visitors.

Directions

The easiest route without an off-road-capable vehicle is to just follow Mulligan Creek up from Mulligan Plains. Alternatively, for the more adventurous, this could be part of a bushwhacking hike around the Silver Lake Basin area.

To reach the creek from Ishpeming head north on County Road 573, turning off of US-41 near the ski museum, and taking the paved road through the town (bearing left at the fork near the cemetery), around the winding Deer Lake, and keeping on the left fork at the multiple forks that lead up to the south shore of Dead River Storage Basin. 15 miles from US-41 there will be a bridge over the Dead River and a two-track leading left - take this off the main road.

Follow this winding road over Mulligan Creek for 1.1 miles before turning right at a wide sandy track that sneaks up, hidden by the thick pines. This track heads along the west side of Mulligan Plains. Keep on it for about 3 miles until there is a small parking pull of on the left side big enough for four vehicles or so. The road kinda continues, fording the Mulligan through a deep, sandy area that will probably swallow most vehicles. Park on the pull off.

From here you want to follow the river upstream. You can go on either side, although the northern bank is probably easier. It's a 3 mile hike through thick brush that will take you past the lower falls and some impressive old growth. The falls are located at the base of a large, deep pool and is hard to miss.

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