- 11 miles (17 km)
- 30 minutes
- There is no fee to launch or dock your boat at Black Harbor
From the weathered wooden docks at the Black River Harbor, the pines and hemlocks on the far shore ripple in the green waters of Lake Superior. The only sounds that break the silence are the lap of waves against the pier and the faint hum of a motorboat in the distance. You are experiencing a summer afternoon in the northern woods of Michigan, one of the many natural treasures of the Black River Scenic Byway.
Black River Harbor began as a fishing village in the 1920's, and today features several high-quality charter boats. Troll the waters of Lake Superior for trout and salmon, or take a Lake Superior cruise into the sunset. Both are excellent ways to see the wooded shoreline and expansive waters of the largest Great Lake.
Further inland, visit the Black River's many waterfalls. All four waterfall hiking trails are under a mile in length, and provide a blaze of color when hiked during the fall. Each waterfall has its distinct characteristics, from Sandstone Falls' short cascade among red rock riverbanks to the flying mists of thundering Rainbow Falls, which you can view from a suspension bridge that spans the river.
The tranquility of summer and autumn gives way to winter excitement along the Black River Scenic Byway. The Copper Hill Ski area features the only ski flying ramp in the Western Hemisphere. Ski flying is ski jumping's more extreme cousin, with standard runs sending the skier over 600 feet, or the length of two football fields. Only the best ski jumpers can participate in ski flying. The ramp at Copper Hill rises an astounding 26 stories from the top of an 800-foot hill, allowing jumps of over 450 feet. While you might not be up to ski flying, you can view most the surrounding country from the observation deck on the top of the ramp. For visitors seeking a more normal ski experience, Big Powderhorn Ski Area offers several downhill runs set in a charming Bavarian Village.
The Black River Scenic Byway captures the best of all seasons and moods in Northern Michigan.
Points of Interest Along The Way
Ottawa National Forest (MI)
Almost one million acres in size, the Ottawa National Forest offers fishing, canoeing, lake kayaking, and in the winter, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The trees and water are equally amazing here.