Dead River Falls: The Best Waterfall Hike in Marquette

dead river falls cliff jump

Dead River Falls is one of the Upper Peninsula’s best hikes and luckily, it’s located in Marquette. Don’t let the name fool you as this place is teeming with energy and endless beauty. Follow along as we dive into exploring Marquette’s Best waterfall hike

Dead River Falls Hiking Guide (2021)

  • Getting to Dead River Falls
  • Finding the Dead River Trailhead
  • The Hike – Length, Challenge, Experience
  • Dead River Hike Important Info
  • Post Hike

Getting to Dead River Falls

Navigating yourself to Dead River Falls is pretty easy if you have map quest on your side. Getting there can also vary depending on conditions, as some of the roads getting there are dirt and have major potholes.

Most cars will be fine just be cognizant of weather. Here is where you can find the coordinates for the hike

You know you’re at the Dead River parking lot when you make it to a parking lot with a power plant and porta potty. There is limited parking but usually that’s not an issue. Park up the road IF you are faced with an overcrowded day. Its about a 12 minute drive from the heart of the city.

Dead River Falls Trailhead

Dead River Falls Trailhead

The Dead River Falls trailhead is adjacent to the parking lot. Pass by the gate and scramble up the access hill and follow the steep gravel path for about a .25 mile until you arrive at a set of wooden stairs (above). Follow these stairs down until you hit the water and stay right.

Marquette's Best Hike Info

Dead River Falls
First Waterfall at Dead River
  • Hike Length: 1.5 Miles out and back
  • Hike Difficulty: Medium
  • Waterfalls: There are 3 main sets. Don’t Stop at the first one
  • What to expect: Uprooted Trees and Steep Scrambles over Roots and Rocks in the beginning. Definitely not easy but very manageable.

The hike isn’t very demanding as most of it is a trail running alongside the river. However, in the beginning there is a steep section that can be troublesome for inexperienced or weary hikers. Take it slow as you climb or crawl over exposed roots and rocks.

The Hike continues up stream for about a mile or so and eventually will lead you to the grand falls that people cliff jump off of when the time is right. If you do venture up to cliff jump, you will find another area above the grandeur falls, that provides some nice calm water.

If your group is tired and not athletic and doesn’t want to go up, don’t sweat it, you haven’t missed much.

As stated before, the hike is pretty easy besides the early stretch of steep exposed roots. Depending on your athleticism and energy, there are some incredible lookout points that are definitely worth climbing to. There are numerous spots to wade in the water and also fly fishermen can bait their lines for some fishing.

Other Dead River Falls Things to Know

Dead River Falls Summer
  • Dogs are allowed on the Dead River trail! Although they are allowed, the one section may pose a challenge for a dog who isn’t well acclimated to difficult terrain.
  • In the Summer bring Water and Bug Repellent! Bugs are relentless when bad
  • The Trail can get crowded during warm months as it’s a local favorite. If possible, caravan as parking is limited or bike/hike in.
  • Bring your camera! This hike is gorgeous and lends itself as one of the best places for photography in Marquette. Landscape Photographers will love this hike because of the varying amount of available compositions
  • There are 3 sets of waterfalls that you will encounter. Don’t stop at the first one

Best Things to do in Marquette

You finished your hike, now what? Well all depends on what you’re craving. Are you trying to complete the waterfall loop of the area? Are you craving a more vertical and scenic viewpoint? Is it time to head down to Lake Superior for a relaxing afternoon on the water?

Is there anything else I can help you with? Here is the full link to all of my Michigan Travel resources to get you to where you need to be.

If you’re in to photography, I run 1 hour classes that highlights the best things to do in Marquette. Either way, hope you guys enjoy your time when visiting. Until then, hope to see you in Marquette or somewhere else in the world. Stay tuned for more posts, pictures and videos.

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