Black (M.Br.Escanaba trib), Michigan, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-II(III) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||13 fpm|
|Max Gradient||37 fpm|
OK, this is extremely small, has rather low gradient and a lot of flatwater, and is nestled between two other good-sized rivers (Michigamme to the South, M.Br.Escanaba to the North). Drainage at the uppermost access (our listed put-in) is only about 6 square miles. Additional access points exist, and may be desirable if it is too small (and insufficient flow) at the uppermost put-in. So . . . not likely to make anyone's 'must do' list. However, there are some rather interesting stretches of rapids . . . and . . . well downstream of our listed section, a named falls worth looking at. (We have included it on the map and features list.)
So, again, probably not likely to be run (unless everything in the area is in flood). But, hey, it could happen!
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|1.9||Republic-Champion Grade Trail||II|
|4.1||USGS sampling site||N/A|
|5.8||Greenwood Reservoir Road||N/A|
|5.8||USGS sampling site||N/A|
|8.8||Wave and rips||N/A|
|9.1||USGS sampling site||N/A|
|17.3||Black River Falls||V|
|18.1||USGS sampling site||N/A|
Coming out of a ponded area upstream of the bridge, this stream trips across a brief rocky rips.
Coming out of some ponding, again the river trips across a brief rocky area (maybe 1/10th of a mile). Amid this drop, an unnamed (on all maps I find) side stream enters on river-left, contributing its very welcome additional flow.
As the stream approaches Republic-Champion Grade Trail, another brief rocky stretch is encountered.
Not far down from M95, another brief rocky rips will be encountered. A short pool leads to a slightly longer set of rocky rips, heading to pass under RCGT again.
Coming out of ponding just below RCGT, a rocky rips (again, about 1/10th mile) will be found. At the end of this rips, a large ponded area heads off to river-right. Cross a brief part of the pond, staying to the left to exit the pool.
Coming out of the aforementioned pool you encounter a long (perhaps as much as a half-mile) narrow stretch of river, much of which has swift current. It is possible that deadfall may be an issue so proceed with caution.
You should probably scout (before putting on) the place where Co.Rd.601 crosses, as there may not be adequate passage here. You'll want to know ahead of time what things look like, to be certain you will be either able to get through or able to safely get out to portage at this road, which crosses amid the aforementioned half-mile narrows. Additionally, just downstream, it appears there may be a private footbridge crossing the stream which you should check for adequate clearance. (You should be able to see it from the road.) This narrows/swifts continues a bit more than 0.1 mile downstream, but then peters out, and it's a good ways to the next rips, so *IF* this upper stretch is runnable, and you are looking for only the best gradient, this would be a good place to end your trip.
USGS lists a sampling site at Co.Rd.601, showing drainage at that point as 11.3 square miles.
After some ponding, you'll approache the old Lake Superior and Ispeming (LS&I) rail line, which the river will parallel for nearly a half-mile before passing under. Along this stretch you'll find a number of random rocky rips before the rail-trail bridge.
The river here is in an area of wide and slow meanders and low floodplain. The road appears to be more of a driveway for private properties, making this not a very likely access location.
This would make a far better alternate access.
USGS lists another sampling site, with drainage area at this point of 24 square miles.
After nearly a mile of meandering through wide floodplain, the river finally narrows and trips across very brief minor rips.
After a much-too-long stretch of more wide meandering floodplain, the river again narrows and encounters nearly a quarter-mile of riffles and rips (nice easy waves).
As you encounter a private residence on river-right, the river takes a 90-degree left, and passes under a private footbridge. Approach with caution in case there is a problem with deadfall or clearance.
A couple small islands divide the flow, and minor rips (riffles and waves) are likely to be encountered.
As the river approaches Black River Road/Co.Rd.478, it trips across a short ledge/wave/hole and down a fine brief stretch of rocky riffs. At the end of this stretch, there may be another footbridge crossing the stream, with the usual concerns for safe clearance/passage. Approach with caution.
Either A) park somewhere near the bridge and take out there, or B) park somewhat south, where powerlines cross Ffw, and Co.Rd.Ffa branches off to the West, which allows you to run the final quarter-mile of gradient below the bridge. As soon as you paddle under the powerlines, catch an eddy in the pool, and carry back to your vehicle(s).
And another USGS sampling site, this one with drainage area of 34.4 square miles. (This is at, or just above, our suggested take-out.)
There is a convenient parking area and short trail to view these falls. The rivers is squeezed between vertical walls of rock, and drops over a very rocky falls into a pool below.
A fine description and photos are available at: Waterfalls of the Keweenaw.
Would you believe it? This little creek has yet another USGS sampling site listed, this one with drainage area of 50.8 square miles.