Dive in! The water is warm-ish... - Our Favorite U.P. Swimming Holes
When you live in a place with snow on the ground for 8 months of the year you learn to appreciate the sweet joy that can only come from a cool swim on a hot summer day. There is nothing better than jumping into a favorite swimming hole to beat the heat and humidity! While it’s hard to beat a Lake Superior beach, there’s something uniquely fun about jumping into a secluded swimming hole and we’ve got a few we think you shouldn’t miss!
Not your typical “swimming hole”, but if you are coming to the U.P. you really need to experience swimming in the world’s largest fresh water lake! Wetmore Landing, located just outside of Marquette, offers a horseshoe shaped, white sand beach, with dare we say, a bit warmer waters than the other beaches located in Marquette. Quiet, somewhat secluded, this beach has everything including a less popular place to cliff jump than the overcrowded Blackrocks.
Dead River Rope Swings & Cliff Jumps!
The Dead River which flows into Lake Superior in Marquette has two wonderful swimming holes where locals go to cool off and for a bit of adventure! First is the rope swing located where the river flows beneath CR 550, just off of Sugarloaf Avenue is an awesome spot close to town and is your classic swing, drop, and dip! Park at the NTN Trail head, carefully cross CR 550 and follow a short path to the bend in the river where you will find a rope hanging from a large pine tree. Make the swing and be sure to clear the cliff and make a splash into the center of the river!
The second is the Dead River Falls cliff jump. This popular swimming hole is located after a mile hike which should warm you up before cooling off! To get to the falls, turn north onto Wright Street from US-41 on the west side of Marquette. Turn left on Forestville Road, go over the one-lane bridge, then park at the power station, near the outhouse.
Look for the Dead River Falls sign marking the trail. Head upstream to the main waterfalls where you will find a large pool to cool off in after your hike!
This bridge located on M28 in Autrain, in the perfect bridge to jump off of and into the Autrain River. After the jump float a short distance to the mouth of the river which empties into the cool waters of Lake Superior! There is a beautiful sand beach here to rest up before your next jump!
Located just south of L’Anse, the parking lot for Canyon Falls is a Michigan Rest Stop. Take the short hike from the parking lot to the top of the falls. There are many places to jump but the largest leap is about 40 feet! The water depth is deep but make sure you are jumping in the right area to shallow water and swift currents.
A drive down a rough road and short hike along Lake Superior will take you to this Keweenaw gem. The falls are a popular destination for hikers but many people miss out on the opportunity to swim in Lake Superior at the bottom of the cascade, or in the many warm pools found further up stream.
Some Words of Warning
Because backcountry swimming and jumping poses a risk there are several things to consider before taking a big leap. Unless you know the depth and can see the bottom, always scout your landing. Use whatever means are available, including long sticks, or a tent pole at least the depth of your predicted submersion; take a big breath of air and use a deep dive to physically inspect your landing zone before jumping! Always jump as far out and away from the rock as possible. Depending on the location, you may want to wear foot protection.
Our U.P. water at swimming holes is usually colder than most places, due to snowmelt, lack of sun, or colder summer temperatures. Be prepared for the shockingly cold water temps! Don’t disregard warning signs. If a sign is posted, someone’s probably been injured doing what you’re about to do.
During these sweltering days of summer, nothing beats cooling down by jumping into the lake or a backcountry pool of water. That’s exactly why you should consider cooling off at these lesser-known swimming holes this summer. Be safe, have fun and stay cool!