Big Garlic - Goldmine Rd to Cty 550 (4 miles)

Big Garlic, Michigan, US


Goldmine Rd to Cty 550 (4 miles)

Usual Difficulty III-V (for normal flows)
Length 4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 80 fpm
Max Gradient 130 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-04043275 160 - 500 cfs III-V 1y228d03h07m ~ 80 cfs (too low)
Almost certainly too low for whitewater run. Big Garlic is exactly half the drainage of the Yellow Dog at its gauge, so flows *could* be about half that gauge. Correlation is not assured.

River Description

Quick Facts:

Location: 13 miles NW of Marquette.
Shuttle Length: 4.7 miles. (See details in "Directions" Tab.)
Character: Northwoods bobble, with chunks of gradient in ledges and slides.

Put-in is approximately 964' elevation.
Take-out is approximately 648' elevation.
Thus total elevation change is approximately 316'.

This tiny river tends to take its gradient in big chunks. There are four sections of elevated gradient, each dropping 50-60' fairly quickly.

Unfortunately, the lower portion of the first good gradient sequence is essentially unrunnable due to an overhanging rock at the bottom of a tight, steep slot/flume. (Can you say 'high speed cranial impact'?)

The not-so-steep portions of the run are essentially a pleasant bobble through the woods, and are fairly clear of wood for a stream this small. However, logs tend to gather in quantity in some of the drops, rendering them unrunnable in part or whole. As a result (when we were there) a wonderful sliding drop mid-run had a huge tree across midway down, so we had to settle for sliding off shore to run just the bottom half.

The final big drop may be runnable at some flows, but most of the water slides into an overhanging wall in such a way as to dissuade most folks at most flows. This falls could be seen by walking several hundred yards up from the 550 bridge but keep in mind that here (as along much of this run) the property is privately held.

Bottom line? We did it once, and it was interesting to explore and see its drops, but it's doubtful it will make anyone's 'must do again' list.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-02-27 18:51:14

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
2.6Confluence, unnamed creekN/A
2.7Falls SequenceN/A
3.8Falls SequenceN/A
6.2USGS sampling siteN/A

Rapid Descriptions

Falls (Class N/A, Mile 0.6)

Big Garlic Falls

Big Garlic Falls
Photo by Sizzler taken 02/18/15

Confluence, unnamed creek (Class N/A, Mile 2.6)

An unnamed (on maps I find online) creek enters from river-right. If you take note of it, it signals your approach to the next good shot of gradient/falls.

Falls Sequence (Class N/A, Mile 3.8)

Have a look at the main slide in this sequence at Waterfalls of the Keweenaw.

USGS sampling site (Class N/A, Mile 6.2)

USGS lists a sampling site showing drainage at this location of 15.9 square miles.

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