presque isle’s ocqueoc waterfalls make a great stop for your vacation swim

On the way home from our Presque Isle birthday party, we stopped by the Ocqueoc Falls, the highest falls in the lower peninsula … (pronounced AH-key-ock) … okay, they are the only named waterfall in the lower peninsula and the vertical drop is only five feet. The upper peninsula has 324 waterfalls and they are all gorgeous. But for Michigan’s lower peninsula it’s the beauty of the Ocqueoc Falls that will captivate you.

The park has recently been redone. It’s a short walk to the falls, and the area’s stone work takes on a feeling of Stonehenge.

The falls curve around in a delightful way, bouncing from pool to stone, tempting us back when it’s warmer to swim and splash in them.

Deborah de Lorenzo, a good friend of my brother’s, was recently in the area for an easy Sunday paddle. She reports, “According to the classic “Canoeing Michigan Rivers” by Jerry Dennis and Craig Date the Ocqueoc is rated Class I-II with possible II+ or III rapids in spring runoff.” That assessment is impossible to confirm says Deborah, as it appears there is little recent scouting info.

Deborah says, “If I were to do this stretch I would scout different access points, go with experienced river paddlers, pack some portable saws and axes, pack ropes, be in shape to do a lot of portages with the lightest boat to suit this stretch. We’d need to carry enough gear for overnight camping since it would be hard to tell how many miles we’d make in a day. Campgrounds along this river are few so primitive camping would probably apply.

“It would be an adventure! But not for the casual paddler seeking a quick trip of a few hours. It’d probably be a very rare and tranquil experience.”

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