Presque Isle - A) Yondota Falls to Copps Mine Rd (1.5 miles)


Presque Isle, Michigan, US

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A) Yondota Falls to Copps Mine Rd (1.5 miles)

Usual Difficulty IV(V) (for normal flows)
Length 1.54 Miles
Avg. Gradient 60 fpm
Max Gradient 73 fpm

Erik Strahler Yondota Falls


Erik Strahler Yondota Falls
Photo of Erik Strahler by C.J. Arnold taken 08/26/06 @ 1.24 (140cfs Black)

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
PRESQUE ISLE RIVER NEAR TULA, MI
usgs-04032000 150 - 1000 cfs IV(V) 01h16m ~ 315 cfs (running)
Likely low to moderate flows. Gauge (261 sq.mi.) lies ~13.6 miles downstream, with significant trib intervening. Expect gauge to overstate flows for this reach.
BLACK RIVER NEAR BESSEMER, MI
usgs-04031000 150 - 300 cfs IV(V) 00h46m ~ 551 cfs (too high)
*Likely* outrageous. (Correlation not assured.) WE NEED YOUR INPUT to establish correlation! Add a comment or report! Ref. gauge (Black R., next watershed west, drainage of 200 sq.mi.) is comparable to Presque above this reach so may correlate well. Expect occasional variance.


River Description

The meat of this short reach is the Yondota Falls sequence, which lies about a quarter mile downstream from the put-in. The Presque Isle tumbles 52' in a third of a mile (~156 FPM equivalent gradient!) through an interesting and varied series of drops. While this reach is located quite a distance upstream of the more popular or well known classic sections of the Presque, the river is still fair sized here and has some power.

Driving to the put-in, the Presque is a calm, meandering river, visible to the right. This soon changes after the river passes beneath the put-in bridge. The current quickens and some light whitewater develops as the river makes a turn to the right. There is a small initial drop and just below, the river constricts considerably next to a river-left rock outcropping and drops away. Get out to scout on the right. There is a 8'-10' vertical falls here that drops into a narrow slot. The hydraulic at the base very powerful and potentially dangerous, backed-up by a spline of rock which splits the already narrow channel below in two. There is a secondary channel to the right which may allow one to bypass the bad hole and drop in downstream at higher flows.

Following this falls, the river spreads out again and enters a series of technical boulderbed ledge drops (3'-5') with only a few eddies in between. Wood collects here but there are generally multiple clean routes. Some of the routes work, and some aren't so pretty, so it may be best to scout the entire sequence beforehand. The run-out from the last of these ledges is the lead-in to the final drop, a bouldery medium-angle cascade of about 12'-15'. Again, there are multiple lines and some may hurt. Below here are some waves and a hole in the run-out. The remaining distance to the listed take-out may hold some lighter whitewater. One could do a shuttle-less run here by simply running to the bottom of the falls sequence and carrying back up the river right trail but it's probably easier to just float down to the listed take-out.

Yondota Falls may be found by turning north off of Hwy 2 in Marenisco on Cty 523 (Copps Mine Rd) and driving north for about 3.25 miles. The shuttle here is simple. From the put-in bridge, continue north following the main road and bearing to the left until reaching the river.

Philippe Damiano reports:
Andy Lovering, Erik Strahler, and Chris Arnold ran this section at 1.24ft. The falls was the highlight, but the rest of the section was good. Desperate paddlers might find refuge running laps on this section if everything else is too low.

Note: There is about 16 miles of low gradient river from this (listed take-out of this upper section) to the next listed section of this river (Underwood Tower Rd to Steigers Bridge).


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2012-05-26 15:35:20

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0USGS sampling siteN/A
0.3end of Yondota Falls sequenceN/A

Rapid Descriptions

USGS sampling site (Class N/A)

USGS lists a sampling site in Marenisco citing drainage area of 171 square miles at that point.



end of Yondota Falls sequence (Class N/A, Mile 0.3)

Paddlers intent on the heavy action may wish to just carry back upstream from here (and possibly 'do laps'). Otherwise it may be just as easy to continue the float downstream to the next bridge. Reports are that it is a worthwhile float.
The following video from a drone overflight gives a fine bottom-to-top view of the falls sequence:




User Comments

Users can submit comments.
June 23 2015 (1245 days ago)
JohnHart (155437)
Tony Catania and I ran this section at 155cfs on 6/20/15. Yondota Falls is very do-able (for an
intermediate/advanced skilled whitewater kayaker with the appropriate gear) at this level. However,
I would still suggest having a safety crew unless you are well versed in running falls. One safety
person my be sufficient for retrieving the boater, but their gear will likely be washed well down
river by the time you get to retrieve it or lost. A well placed boof stroke is advised. The slot is
mostly flushy unless you land river left in the five 4-5ft wide slot below Yondota Falls. Their is
a brief pool with a few large stone protrusions that you can climb up on if you swim. We did not
notice any under cuts on the stone just beyond the pool(not to say an undercut does or doesn't
exist). The rest of the run is pretty straight forward and fun. As the write up recommends scout
the section before running it. If you have a sufficient sized crew, then you could play "Molly
Move-up" a few times at Yondota Falls before running the rest of the section. As the write up notes
the take out is only a mile and a half down river and well worth the short paddle instead of
carrying out after your last lap.


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