Ten Foot Falls, Eagle River
Many of the waterfalls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are large and easily accessible, but we continue to find more that are small, secluded and take a little more work to get to. Ten Foot Falls on the Eagle River in Keweenaw County is not a large waterfall, but is worth a stop if you’re in the area to see Eagle River Falls or any of the Keweenaw National Historic Park Heritage Sites nearby. The historic Phoenix church and the Bammert Blacksmith Shop are less than a mile away from Ten Foot Falls, and there are two historic bridges at Eagle River Falls.
As the river makes it descent toward Lake Superior, it forms a rapids above Ten Foot Falls, then splits over volcanic rock in two sections. I’m not sure where the name for this waterfall came from, as the drop seems to be more like five feet than ten feet, but it was included in the revised edition of the Penrose Guide to 199 Michigan Waterfalls. We had little trouble finding Ten Foot Falls on our June 2016 trip through the Upper Peninsula, and enjoyed adding yet another waterfall to the list of ones we’ve visited in the Michigan. The water pools below the falls and is fairly shallow, and it’s easy to climb on rocks around the top of the falls. This would definitely be a fantastic spot for fall color.
There is a wide gravel parking area on the shoulder of M-26, about a mile west of the M-26/U.S. 41 junction in Phoenix. We parked there and could immediately hear the sound of the falls. There is room here for a picnic or just to sit down for some quiet reflection. There is a 15 foot drop downstream named Fenner’s Falls, but we were unable to find a safe path down into the gorge for a view of that waterfall. Eagle River Falls is another half mile downstream from there, and with a 25 foot drop it can be quite impressive after significant rainfall or spring snowmelt.