Piers Gorge and Trail

Location: Norway, Michigan

Webpage: Michigan State Park

General Description: The Menominee River, which forms the state line between Michigan and Wisconsin, rips through the Menominee Iron Range creating many rapids and small waterfalls.  The most spectacular is the Piers Gorge, just south of Norway, Michigan.  The trail along the river brings many views of the rapids and cascades along this stretch of the river.  When you come to the third cataract of four along this stretch you are rewarded with the magnificent view of a wild roaring waterfall.  The gorge is a wild place, but the path is easy/moderate in difficulty as you hike upstream.

TrailMap

Impressions:

1) The river gorge is little hard to find as there are no specific signs along US 8 south of Norway.  However, it is the last right turn before the Menominee River bridge into Wisconsin.  The parking lot is relatively small and can become crowded, especially during the weekend.  The trail upstream from the river is heavily traveled and easy to follow with many views of the river.  The first two cascades are little more than rapids in the river, however, the third cascade is easily a Class II waterfall of about 10 feet in height.  We actually gave up trying to find the fourth cascade which was further upstream then we wanted to hike.

2) Especially during the weekend, you are likely to see white water rafts on the river.  We were surprised to see them towing a second raft down to the waterfall.  Since the entire gorge is only a few miles in length, it likely takes less than 20 minutes to experience the entire gorge on a raft.  They drop the second raft off before the main waterfall, so they can hike back up to experience it again to make the trip worthwhile.