Tannery Falls (sometimes referred to as Rudy M. Olson Memorial), along with MNA Memorial Falls (sometimes called Twin Falls) often get missed by unknowing visitors who follow the signs to nearby Munising Falls, leaving these two cool waterfalls in their touristy dust. Well, that’s not going to be you.
I’ll explain how to find it in a minute, but first let me tell you a little about the place.
After crossing a well-known road, you’ll come to a staircase that leads up a hill and into the woods. Enchanting, right? A Michigan Nature Association sign is there to let you know you’re not about to wonder off into the abyss.
Climb the staircase and you’ll soon be faced with a decision. One sign points to “M Falls” and another to “O Falls.” At this point, you’ll be confused. “Where’s the “T Falls?” you’ll think to yourself.
Remember how I said Tannery Falls was sometimes referred to as the Rudy M. Olson Memorial? That’s right, you want “O” falls. Head to the right. After you check out Tannery, feel free to hike on over to MNA Memorial Falls. It’s not a far hike, it’s a pretty stretch of woods, and Memorial is equally as good if not better than Tannery. (According to Tom from U.P. Overland, who grew up in Munising and knows this area well!)
It’s a steep uphill climb at first, but it’s short. After a minute or so of uphill walking, you’ll skirt along a sandstone cliff and end up face to face with a very cool waterfall. It’s a serene little area with more than a few little nooks and cranny’s to explore. I took my son there and he had a blast running around, saying “look at this!” a hundred times. At some point I’d like to come back with my wife and have a picnic here. Yes, I’m cheesy like that.
There are no signs urging you to “stay on the trail.” You can walk right up to, behind, and around the falls if you want to. If it’s a hot day, stand right under the thing and cool off! It might not be a bad idea to bring a swimsuit just in case. 🙂
Bottom line: Tannery and nearby MNA Memorial Falls definitely warrant venturing slightly off the beaten path. As long as you’re physically able, they’re not difficult to reach.
How to get there? Here’s what you do. From H-58 just a short way out of Munising, turn left onto Washington St. (which becomes Sand Point Road), then pull over to the side of the road and park right away, near the small brick utility building. Now, look directly across H-58. See the staircase? That where your headed.
For photos of the small brick building, the staircase leading into the woods and more, check out my Things to do in the U.P. Facebook page and brows to the “Tannery Falls” album.
Map: For even more info, click here to check out a great map! (Which shows a good parking option and the location of both falls.)