Tannery Falls – Munising, Michigan
Michigan’s Alger County in the Upper Peninsula is home to more than 20 named waterfalls, and they are not only set against beautiful backdrops but are easily accessible as well. While most visitors to Munising spend their time at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, the city is also home to some “hidden gem” waterfalls. We’ve already looked at MNA Memorial Falls, and now we turn our attention to Tannery Falls (sometimes called Rudy M. Olson Memorial Falls), a secluded spot where Tannery Creek drops 40 feet in a Michigan Nature Association protected area.
We found out about this waterfall through the ” A Guide to 199 Michigan Waterfalls” book by Laurie and Bill T. Penrose. It is reached by a short hike on a trail that begins at the intersection of H-58 and Washington St. (about a mile from the parking area for Munising Falls). Much like Memorial Falls, this waterfall drops into a sandstone canyon and is dependent on snowmelt and recent rainfall for good flow. The canyon itself is quite impressive, and as you walk the trail it is easy to feel small in front of the towering rock wall.
The trail begins with a wooden staircase up the hill and then follows along the top of the gorge before descending down into it. The trail is somewhat challenging but well-worn, and it even allows access to the cave behind the falls. Unlike other area waterfalls, Tannery Falls is rarely busy which is part of its charm.
Directions: From downtown Munising head east on H-58, then turn left on Washington St. We parked in front of the building shown below, then walked back to H-58 and crossed it where the trail begins. Be sure to check out Horseshoe Falls, Alger Falls, Wagner Falls, and Miners Falls – each found with a 15 minute drive or less.