Skip to main content

Wisconsin Parent

Bond Falls in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Aug 19, 2014 12:00PM, Published by Julie Henning, Categories: Travel



On a recent waterfall-themed road trip in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the folks at the Western Upper Peninsula Convention and Visitor's Bureau had instructed us "not to miss" Bond Falls, a beautiful waterfall located on the middle branch of the Ontonagon River near the town of Paulding. A perfect spot for people of all ages, take our word that this is great advice!With more than 150 waterfalls across the Western Upper Peninsula, Bond Balls is one of the region's more popular falls.  (and, in my opinion, on par with Tahquamenon Falls on the opposite side of the Peninsula). The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has classified Bond Falls as a Scenic Site and as far as I can tell, there is not an admission fee. While there is a road that takes you closer into the base of the falls (and an accessible boardwalk with six viewing locations), we found a parking spot at the top (near the picnic tables and all the other parked cars and motorcycles) and made a downward descent.IMG_8639It seems that the amount of water flowing down Bond Falls is ultimately controlled by the needs of the Upper Peninsula Power Company; a powerful blast of water exits the Bond Falls Flowage (Parents, keep a tight grip on your toddlers if you walk up the road from the trail head and cross over this bridge.).IMG_8653At first glance this sign doesn't make sense (and I even let my kids wade in a sandy, safer, area a bit further upstream), but you really don't want to mess around with Mother Nature once the river passes under the pedestrian bridge.

IMG_8636Why? The river makes a sudden sharp right turn and starts its descent down a series of man-made drops and sloping rocks.

IMG_8638While the main "attraction" is a 50-foot waterfall, your descent will lead you through a series of "stair step" falls worthy of their own photos.

IMG_8640At this point on the hike you will see a sign warning of the impending uneven and slippery steps.

IMG_8642Get ready to hang on to the handrail.

IMG_8644Your efforts will not be in vain.

IMG_8646The base of the falls makes for a fabulous spot to take a souvenir photo or, perhaps, to set up your easel. The accessible wooden boardwalk has several steps of stairs leading down closer to the water (again, I wouldn't get too crazy wading here as it looks like the rapids continue further downstream).

IMG_8647If you need to use the restroom at this point, you can find some accommodations just off the lower trail (or you can 'hold it' like I did and find the outhouses at the top). IMG_8650Having noticed some people off to the other side of the river on our way down, we decided to take the alternate route back to our car. This is, by far, the inferior choice (unless you like holding on to tree roots and trying to figure out where the trail starts and ends). Also, this route takes you a bit further away from the river bank. You do exit a bit up the road from the parking area, near the stairs leading up to the Bond Falls Flowage (and this is worth a look). Your hike back to the parking area will take you past a gift shop that sells ice cream treats at an extremely reasonable price (less than $4 for three treats - what a deal).




Wisconsin Parent midwest travel waterfalls michigan bond falls scenic site western upper penninsula


  • Walldogs Mural Walk

    07/24/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Beaver Dam community is all pitching in to revive the downtown in order to create a vibrant s...


  • Mom's Unite Evening Meet Up

    07/25/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Mom's Unite Morning Meet Up

    07/26/2017
    08:30AM — 09:30AM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Native Prairie Plants and Seed Bombs

    07/26/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Learn about native Wisconsin prairie plants from Elizabeth Herzmann, WI Department of Natural Re...


  • Kids From Wisconsin

    07/26/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Kids from Wisconsin are back at the Schauer for their 49th show season! Sit back, buckle up, ...


  • Restless Heart

    07/26/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Playing a pop-friendly brand of country-rock indebted to The Eagles, Restless Heart was one of th...


  • Junior Archaeologists Day Camp

    07/27/2017
    09:00AM — 02:00PM

    Uncover Wisconsin’s ancient history! We will see artifacts thousands of years old and make some a...


  • Adventure Kids

    07/27/2017
    09:30AM — 11:00AM

    Drop the kiddos off to a morning of ADVENTURE! Adventure Kids includes Adventure, Crafts and Play...


  • Mom's Unite Active Play Meet Up

    07/27/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Bike Night at the Library

    07/27/2017
    06:00PM — 07:30PM

    Ride your bike to the library to see a Beaver Dam Police Department Bicycle up close, enter to wi...


  • Art and Chalk Fest 2017

    07/29/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Art and Chalk Fest 2017 Museum of Wisconsin Art Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and 30, 2017 | 10:...


  • Art and Chalk Fest 2017

    07/30/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Art and Chalk Fest 2017 Museum of Wisconsin Art Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and 30, 2017 | 10:...



Special Thanks to These Relaunch Partners


Woodman's Markets - Employee Owned
Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau