A flood (May 2003) caused the river to bypass around a dam creating around a thirty foot drop in about a third of a mile. The run is easy to access, as it runs underneath the CR 550 bridge in Marquette. Just park and carry up to the top.
NOTE: Per comment below, the drop as described (and shown in video) no longer exists, as the dam has been restored to operational. As times when flow exceeds plant needs/capacity, a different opportunity may exist in the overflow channel.
We leave this description only for historic reference:
The run starts with Tourist Park falls, a twenty-ish foot drop. Many lines exist. The easiest involves an approach from far river left. A large tongue exists in the middle of a monster hydraulic. This will rocket you down the final slide and into an eddy which is really more of a whirlpool. The "whirlpool" will most likely take you straight into the hydraulic on river right, so paddle hard if you want to avoid it. The rest of the run is a very easy class II-III jaunt (depending on water levels). Many opportunities for play exist (although at any level under 500 cfs the run is fairly shallow and could punish rolls and/or swims).
Overall, this is a great park and huck/ park and play section. It can be easily combined with a run on the Upper Dead, Marquette Carp, Yellow Dog, or other local runs.
Enjoy the following video which starts with just more than a minute of runs of this area before (at 1:10) transitioning into runs of various falls on the Upper Reach of the Dead.
The resolution on Google Maps for this area is excellent. Therefore, we highly recommended going to the 'Map' tab, clicking 'Satellite', zooming in to the maximum resolution available (without losing image), to have a fine 'virtual look' at this reach!
(Based on personal measurement via online planimeter and topomaps.)
These falls no longer exist. The formerly destroyed dam was replaced years ago, and the falls are now a dry section of exposed bedrock, though there is a short run of whitewater looking like class III-IV rapids immediately downstream of Tourist Park Dam spillway.
Although the best levels to run this stretch are over 300 (and the most entertaining) it is boatable well below with accomodating flows as low as 80 CFS. A word of caution, however, that when the flow is low enough the giant slide is a very difficult accomplishment. Due to the sloping nature of the rock without sufficient speed at a river left angle gravity will pull your boat down and river right into a large rock pourover. While scary, the rock serves as a "ski jump" and effectively auto-boofs your boat. I do not recommend trying to attain this line in higher water, but when it's an inevitability in flows as low as 85 and less it can be a really fun ride.
Also, there has recently been some clearing work done on the far river right turbulent step down falls and with a hundred or so CFS might yield some interesting new lines. As of now these falls get run quite a bit by myself and at least one other boater in the area.
Though the falls proper are massively enjoyable at lower levels, and far less punishing than your typical low level hydraulic due both the deepness of the pool and the less than frightening force I don't recommend getting stuck directly in the hydraulic as it could end quite painfully. However with the lower levels it's quite easy to punch through the hole. Lastly, in lower level flows about the only worthwhile features are the falls and I don't recommend even trying to boat about the stretch of river underneath the bridges in a flow any lower than 80 CFS. Even as low as 90 there are a few small waves and other features that can yield some interesting, albeit tiny, play options, and, as I mentioned, the falls are always fun.
Flows of 85-1000 cfs are good. A USGS gauge for this location was discontinued in 2007. Presently, gauging will have to be 'visual' on site.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Please ignore the 'shuttle map' below. This is pretty much a 'park-n-huck'/'park-and-play' and you will be walking the shuttle, which will be obvious.
However, please feel free to use the 'text entry' box to input your home address (or other starting location) to get drive time, distance, and directions to this park-and-huck/park-and-play site.
Entry to Falls
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