Morgan Falls Guide (Marquette, MI)

If you’re looking for an easy Upper Peninsula waterfall hike that’s around 3 to 4 miles long, Morgan Falls is a terrific option. However, when trying to reach the falls, there are a couple of things to know about the trail, such as where to park and how to experience the most scenic hike. Check out the guide below, which will tell you everything you need to know about visiting Morgan Falls.

What is Morgan Falls?

Morgan Falls is a small waterfall situated in the South Vandenboom Recreation Area, within Marquette County, Michigan, approximately 2 miles to the south of Marquette. Formed by Morgan Creek and cascading 20 feet into the Carp River, it’s a popular destination for hiking and fishing, and you can easily access it via a short trail from Marquette Mountain Road.

Morgan Falls Michigan

Where is Morgan Falls?

The trailhead for Morgan Falls is found along M-553.

Something a little bit difficult about Morgan Falls is the parking situation. If you follow the directions to the trailhead you’ll likely arrive at a closed off road with no parking in the immediate area.

There is a campground nearby that could potentially be a parking option but we chose to park down the road on M-553. It’s about .2 miles south from the trailhead but there was a wide open parking lot for us to use.

You can then walk on the shoulder of the road which does mean walking alongside some pretty fast moving traffic (although there is another option to avoid that which I will talk about below).

Experiencing Morgan Falls

After figuring out the parking situation we made our way to the beginning of the trail which is basically a gravel road (SM 417) blocked off to vehicles.

Morgan Falls Michigan Trail

You can follow this trail all the way to the falls which is the easiest option.

It will take about 1.5 miles to arrive to the falls and you are only looking at a couple hundred feet in elevation so it’s definitely an easy “hike.” Along the way, several mountain bike trails intersect the path and you will see them on both sides of the trail.

Morgan Falls Michigan Trail

It’s a pretty scenic path taking you through a lush forest that I’m sure has some great color change in the fall. However, it’s not nearly as scenic as the other trails you can take that are shared with mountain bikers. For that reason, we ended up coming back on the Carp Eh Diem Trail, which I would highly recommend.

Morgan Falls Michigan Trail

Also, bugs can be an issue on this trail. We did the trail in the morning and dealt with a little bit of mosquitoes but nothing too bad and it helped that we had pants and long sleeves on.

Once we started to get close to Morgan Falls we jumped on the Carp Eh Diem Trail because we could not tell if the falls directly connected to the path we were on based on the map. However, whenever we got closer to the falls we saw that there was a wooden staircase coming down from the main path so I’m pretty sure that it connects right there.

Morgan Falls Michigan Trail

Once you make it to the falls area, you’ll head over a bridge that spans across the beautiful Morgan Creek.

Morgan Falls Michigan Trail

Then you need to make a short and a tad steep (but very doable) descent to the falls where you’ll need to get past a muddy spot but some logs are there that will help you get through without getting dirty.

Morgan Falls Michigan Trail

The falls were quite beautiful and the entire surrounding area is just a very peaceful spot with plenty of space to admire the falls and even a picnic bench to relax on. While only 20 feet tall, the falls are pretty loud which gives you a really immersive falls experience.

Morgan Falls Michigan

We had the whole thing to ourselves until we were ready to leave which was really nice but I do think that this trail gets busy on weekends, so be prepared for crowds if visiting at that time.

Morgan Falls Michigan

For the way back we decided to stick entirely to the Carp Eh Diem Trail.

Morgan Falls Michigan

This is what I would strongly recommend to do because the scenery is a lot better and you also get taken down to the Carp River for a portion of it, which is just beautiful.

Morgan Falls Michigan

The drawback is that you may have to deal with mountain bikers but we only saw three the entire way.

Morgan Falls Michigan

The trail is very windy though so just be prepared for a lot of twists and turns, not that they are difficult or technical when you’re not on a bike.

Additionally, should you encounter a mountain biker, it’s essential to be ready. Avoid making direct eye contact and aim to make yourself appear larger. My apologies, that advice was meant for mountain lions! Jokes aside, it’s important to be prepared because the trail can be quite narrow at times, and finding a convenient spot to step aside isn’t always easy. I once nearly slipped down the hillside while attempting to make way.

Morgan Falls Michigan Trail

On this path you will have to deal with a lot more tree roots and up and down so it gives you much more of an authentic hiking experience than the main path. The vegetation is also more interesting and diverse.

Morgan Falls Michigan Trail
Morgan Falls Michigan Trail

Whenever you are headed back you can choose to join the main path again and then come back the way you entered but we did not like walking on the side of the busy road so we took the Double Take Trail back to 553.

You’ll find a faint social trail just before the river crossing that you can use to jump back on the side of the road so that you only have a short journey on the side of the road to the parking lot. In total, this loop was 4.0 miles and the elevation gain was 383 feet. Not bad.

Final word

After doing the short trail to Warner Falls and experiencing our first Upper Peninsula waterfall, we instantly became addicted to these beautiful waterfall trails. Seriously, it’s great how many of them there are in this area and I just love how lush they are.

This one was even more enjoyable than Warner because it was much longer and offered some really beautiful forest scenery to take in for a couple of hours. I also liked that there’s a lot of space by the falls so you can enjoy it even if there were other people hanging around.


  1. Running into mountain bikers isn’t bad at all! Just say hi, they’ll say hi back, and everyone goes on with their day. The locals are rather friendly around here. Also, that bridge you cross near Morgan Falls doesn’t span Carp River, it spans Morgan Creek.

    1. Hey, thanks for the clarification! And I agree about the locals. Some nice people in the UP. Also, didn’t mean to insinuate mountain bikers were problematic as people, just that they can come up on you quick and surprise you, so you have to watch out.

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