Sturgeon River Falls on Sturgeon River

a powerful drop along a mighty river in a deep valley

Impressive Sturgeon River Falls
  • Camping site above the falls
  • Impressive Sturgeon River Falls
  • Fall leaves on the narrow trail
  • Swollen Sturgeon River Falls
  • A dark chute above
  • Bright sun over the even break
  • Sandstone wall beyond the falls
  • A sunny day on the river

Deep in a protected gorge and designated wilderness area lies Stugeon River Falls. The trees grow tall and thick in the huge river valley, which cuts through the west section of Baraga Plains. Sturgeon River, whose watershed stretches from Curwood to Bob Lake, is a strong river here, over thirty feet wide in some spots.

The waterfall is large, one of the most powerful drops in the area. First an odd, uniform break cuts across the river, dropping the level an even foot. A few dozen yards downstream the river narrows into a tiny chute a couple of feet wide through solid basalt. This sudden change causes the water to foam and boil as it rushes quickly to a sudden plunge over a tall, twenty foot cascade into a deep pool. Downstream the river calms a bit, flowing over some minor rapids before settling back down to a slow, meandering flow.


There are a few ways to access this remote spot of Baraga Plains. One of the easiest starts in Baraga and follows M-38 west out of town, past the casino. After 9.5 miles turn left towards Prickett Dam. At 2.3 miles bear right onto NF-2270, staying on this road and following signs for Sturgeon River Falls for 9.8 miles. The parking area is on the left side of the road before Clear Creek Road.

Follow the path across the road to the west. When it hits the edge of the gorge follow it to the right, ignoring any sideroutes down the steep hill. Eventually the footpath does head downhill, along a narrow spur that lessens the slope. Take it down through a small pine forest and to the waterfall, which is just on the other side of a large camping clearing.

Comments (7)

  • Aaron Miner Jul 29, '16 Was at this falls back '89 I think. Couldn't really remember it as I was only 5 then, was more of a faint memory. That has changed however, was there just a couple weeks ago! Definitely a great falls to visit! For being July, there was more water going over than what you have pictured here. Oh, and that downed tree stuck between two others in your first picture is still there.
    • Jacob Emerick Aug 11, '16 Oh wow, still a lot of water in July? That's pretty cool. And nice on that tree... This picture has got to be at least five years old now, surprised that a spring flow didn't knock it out yet.
    • Cheryl Jul 23, '20 Just wondering the easiest way to get to the falla now with all the flood damage. Thank you!
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  • Melody Teegardin Jul 29, '18 We took our kids on this tour, which was not very easy to do... first off, if you use GPS, Sturgeon Falls will be in the middle of nowhere, and will take you well out of your way..... we finally found Sturgeon River Campground and asked some ppl there and they told us how to get there... we found it finally.... seems like forever to get there, and you are driving down a snowmobile road... so don't go in the winter.... when you get to the trail head there is a nice parking spot... get your shoes on there... grab a water bottle. you will walk a good 20-30 minutes down a trail.... let me tell you about this trail: first it's nice and beautiful.... and it would have been fine without kids.... but we didn't know.... and took our 5 and 7 year old, and they were rockstars, but I had a panic attack.... you will be walking most of the trip down the side of this huge gorge, footpaths only the width of one person, holding the hand of my child behind me.... there are 3 turns in the path before you come to the waterfall.... you will end up on the ledge of a cliff looking down onto the top of the fall.... husband walked down the trail a little bit and found a beautiful view! I was too worked up... but then we made our way back up the trail with same level of difficulty. would have been nice to know the difficulty level of this hike and a better direction... but it was very nice :)
    • Jacob P Emerick Aug 1, '18 Way to take your kids along! Hope they had a great time as well :)
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  • Steve Sep 16, '20 The Prickett Dam Road access from the north is closed off, as of summer 2020 (I believe the bridge is out on NF-2270). Baraga Plains Road (a little bit east of there) and Clear Creek road provide a good alternative route from the north. Otherwise you can access it using NF-2200 if coming in off of 28 from the south. Even with the detour, the falls were still worth the visit. You'll want to be careful if you venture onto the rock faces. There is the main chute that's only a few feet wide but water is moving incredibly fast until it reaches the drop. To the side of that there is a smaller chute that has water dropping into small hole, separate from the main waterfall. I have no idea where that thing goes. Add to this discussion
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  • Jane Church Jul 7, '21 Visited the falls today. All of us 60+. It was a hike but worth it. Some steep spots on switchbacks. Falls and Michigan's grand canyon are spectacular. A must see. Add to this discussion
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