Sunday, June 22, 2014

AuTrain Falls in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Welcome to the AuTrain Falls Page!  This page has been set up to let you know about one of Alger County's most beautiful waterfalls.  There are over 100 waterfalls located in the entire Upper Peninsula, but since this particular falls is so close to my home town, I decided to do an in-depth look into the AuTrain Falls.  You will be able to read about the falls, find helpful directions to get to the falls, look at pictures of the falls, and read about additional information on the area located within the falls.  Enjoy!
Here are some helpful directions that will get you to the AuTrain Falls. The falls are located about 8 miles south of AuTrain, 5 miles east of Chatham, and 10 miles southwest of Munising.  From Chatham Corners (at junction of M-94/M-67 near caution light), take M-94 east towards Munising.  About 5 miles into your trip, you will notice a 4-way junction.  Watch for a blue sign that says H-03.  This is the road that you will need to turn down. Turn left onto H-03.  Only .10 miles on H-03, watch for the next gravel road on the right.  This is the road you turn down.  The falls are located at the end of this road.  Travel a short distance, pass along a few curves, and watch for a yellow gate.  The large gravel area before the gate is where you can park.  Walk past the yellow gate and down a gravel hill and you'll be able to hear the falls even closer.  You will soon come upon the wonderful view of the AuTrain Falls.  

The AuTrain Falls are part of the AuTrain River.  A major reason why the falls were created is because of the large power dam located about a mile south of the falls site, in close proximity to highway M-94.  The Forest Lake Dam, run by the Upper Peninsula Power Company, is the main source of water for the falls.  When water levels are high on the AuTrain Basin, an increased flow of water is released via the dam and down the river.  The AuTrain River actually flows from South to North.  When more water is released via the dam, the more volume of water that flows through the falls.  And especially during the spring season, the falls are a fabulous view!  Even though the falls may not be as spectacular during the summer months as compared to the spring season, the falls are still wonderful to visit year round.  They are even accessible during the winter season!  And you can't say that about most Upper Peninsula falls. 

The AuTrain Falls may not be the only thing to see at this location.  A short distance from the bridge, where the view is the most spectacular, is where an old brick building is located.  As you approach the building, you will hear a humming noise and as you approach, the humming noise gets louder and louder. As you peak inside the building, you will notice these large lime-green mechanical devices.  These are power generators.  These generators create enough power to supply 600 homes in the area. The water to supply the generators also comes AuTrain Basin, but travels through large metal piping running from the Forest Lake Dam to the generator site.  Once the water runs through the generator, it is released in the back of the building and back into the river.  It is a unique facility, and one that is still an important part of the area.

The AuTrain Falls area also features some walking trails just north of the site.  Although the trails do not travel too far of a distance, you will still get to see different views of the falls itself, and the AuTrain River.  The walking trail ends when the AuTrain River meets up with the part of the river that traveled through the power generators.  The walking trail is not kept up that well, and is rather rugged.  So please be cautious when walking through. 

The Upper Peninsula Power Company owns the falls and the land around it, but they keep the
area up rather nicely.  The gravel road leading to the falls is always kept up well, and the power company has recently been adding a few new elements to the scenic site.  Last year, they added two new scenic points to view the falls and the large piping that distributes water from the Basin to the generators.  From one of these locations, you are also able to view the original dam, constructed in the 1800's.  You can also read up on how the generators work, from a sign posted at one of the new scenic points.  A job well done to the power company for adding these new scenic sites and signs.

 The AuTrain Falls are great to view every season, but we cannot forget about autumn and the Fall Colors!  The falls area is surrounded by a thick forest of maples and oaks, so when the colors change, it really is a fantastic scene!  Fall is one of the better times to view the falls, although probably not a lot of water will be running through the falls at that particular time.  It also depends a lot on the weather as well.  The falls can be just as
spectacular after a heavy downpour.

You have reached the end of the AuTrain Falls Information Page.  Hopefully I have given you enough information to make these falls a destination spot on your next trip or vacation.  Or, if you are a local of the area, maybe you learned some new information that you didn't know before.  Either way, the AuTrain Falls are beautiful to view, and everyone should get a chance to see them!

1 comment:

  1. Are pets allowed on the trails near Au Train falls?