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The Western Upper Peninsula: Your Destination for Fishing, Falls, and Fall Foliage Next Weekend

Tree and picnic table overlooking lake on an autumn day.

With fall foliage nearing peak color next weekend, it’s the perfect time to plan a weekend getaway in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Here’s an itinerary brimming with possibilities for fishing for your favorite species, chasing waterfalls, and gazing at fall foliage, so you can make the most of this region’s gorgeous natural attractions in one short weekend.


Located on the shores of Lake Gogebic, the largest inland lake in the U.P. and a convenient distance to several of the area’s great waterfalls, choosing Gogebic Lodge in Marenisco as your home base for the weekend is a no-brainer. Gogebic Lodge has several options for lodging year round, from chalets and cottages to cabins and campsites.

Before you check in, visit the rugged Yondota Falls, a mere 20-minute drive from Gogebic Lodge. From US-2 near Marenisco, head north on County Road 523 for about 3 miles. Park on the shoulder, just past the bridge. Follow the path leading downstream, marked by a wooden sign. You’ll glimpse the falls after just a short walk away from the road.

After you have enjoyed this preview of the weekend’s charms, head to your lodgings. Grab a Smokehouse Burger and share a plate of the Pick Axe Onion Rings with your traveling buddies at Gogebic Lodge’s restaurant before you settle in and rest up for tomorrow’s plans.


Hit the road early; you’ve got so much to see! Today’s adventures center in the Porcupine Mountains State Park, which is about a 40-minute drive from your base camp. So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the views of Lake Gogebic and the vibrant foliage from the road. You’ll be following M-64 north along the western shore of Lake Gogebic until the shores of Lake Superior. Turn left on 107th Engineers Memorial Highway to head toward the Porcupine Mountains Visitor Center, where you can gather information about where to go in the park. Here are some suggestions to make the most of your time in the park during this trip.

  • Lake of the Clouds is a must-see when visiting Porcupine Mountains State Park. It is one of the most photographed vistas in the region, and when you arrive, you’ll understand why. Admire the emerald conifers interspersed with a fiery fall palette and the sapphire blue lake against the backdrop of the Porcupine Mountains. There is a fully accessible overlook that offers spectacular views, or, if you’re up for a hike, take the Big Carp River Trail or the Escarpment Trail. Anglers, Lake of the Clouds is a great place for bass fishing (catch-and-release only). Carry in light watercraft from a three-quarter-mile hike or opt for waders or shore fishing.
  • If you can’t get enough of fall color in the Porkies (we know we can’t), take a Fall Color Chair Lift Ride in the Porcupine Mountain Ski Area. These relaxing rides are available from noon to 6 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturdays and Sundays until October 13. Not only will you see some of the best fall colors; you’ll also see the shining waters of Lake Superior from the top of the ski hill!
  • If yesterday’s trip to Yondota Falls whetted your appetite for waterfalls, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park boasts the impressive Manabezho Falls, the largest waterfall on the Presque Isle River. A view of the 25-foot drop and 150-foot crest is easily accessible by trail. While you’re exploring the area, check out Manido Falls. Although smaller—with a crest between 50 and 150 feet and a drop of 15 feet—but well worth the stop. It is also easily viewed by trail and located near Manabezho Falls.

After a day of exquisite sights in the Porcupine Mountains, head back to Gogebic Lodge in time for the Lobster Boil. On Saturday, October 5, from 4 to 9 p.m., Gogebic Lodge will serve lobster in addition to Black Angus Prime Rib and Garlic Herb Baked Chicken. Reservations are recommended for this popular and delicious event. Then unwind with the serene views of Lake Gogebic and prepare for another day brimming with activity and natural beauty tomorrow.


After a pleasant night’s rest, indulge in a morning of fishing on Lake Gogebic. This large lake covers 13,380 acres and boasts a maximum depth of 38 feet and 36 miles of beautiful shoreline—making it an ideal location to fish for walleye, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, northern pike, whitefish, crappie, pumpkinseed, rock bass, brown bullhead, and more!

Whether you spent the early hours fishing or sleeping in, enjoy brunch at Gogebic Lodge. With an all-you-can-eat breakfast of everything from French toast to make-your-own breakfast wraps, you’ll find plenty to fuel your next adventure on this trip.

When you’re full and happy, opt for a colorful display on an auto tour around Lake Gogebic via M-64. The south end of the lake features a trail leading to a scenic overlook of the lake. The western shore of the lake features Gogebic County Park furthest south, Lake Gogebic State Park in the middle, and Ontonagon County Park on the north end of the lake. North of the lake, M-64 intersects with M-28. Go east past Bergland to East Shore Road, which will take you along the eastern shore of the lake.

But if you are jonesing for more waterfall views, instead of turning onto East Shore Road to drive down Lake Gogebic, keep going on M-28 for about 25 miles, past US-45, to the Agate Falls Scenic Site. Agate Falls is widely considered one of the most picturesque falls in the U.P. View these 40-foot-high falls via an accessible trail. Parking, water, toilets, and picnic tables are available here while the park is open (early May through late October). For one last waterfall-viewing experience on this trip, retrace your route on M-28, and turn left (south) on US-45. After about 9 miles, you will turn left onto Bond Falls Road. Follow the road for 3 miles; then turn left onto Scenic Overlook Drive, which takes you to near the top of Bond Falls. There is roadside parking available, as well as picnic tables and an accessible boardwalk. There are six locations at which to view these magnificent falls, which boast a total drop of approximately 50 feet.



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