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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ocqueoc and Rogers City, Michigan: Ocqueoc Falls and underground river, 40 Mile Point Lighthouse, Huron-Sunrise Trail and downtown

June 2017

We visited the following sights from P. H. Hoeft State Park. You can find more information about the state park in my previous blog post

Ocqueoc Falls

Ocqueoc Falls and Little Ocqueoc [underground] River

It is just over 15 miles from the state campground to the falls. There is a state forest campground at the falls; however, we wanted to stay on Lake Huron and near the bicycle trail. Also, the road into the state forest campground is kind of narrow with low hanging branches - not the best situation, if you have a larger camper or 5th wheel.

Ocqueoc Falls

Ocqueoc Falls are the largest falls in lower Michigan, they are handicap accessible, and you can swim and walk in the water on the falls. The water was quite warm, although the air was cold when we visited, so we only waded (another falls photo at the bottom of this post). It is quite easy to walk down the natural stones to the falls, or you can get to the falls via the walkway ramp. The property also includes a picnic area, vault toilets, and hiking trails. 

Stone walkway to falls
I had read about the underground river, so we decided to see if we could find it when we visited the falls. It comes out of the hillside on N. Silver Creek Road, which is just east of the falls. Silver Creek Road is a seasonal road that crosses M-68 between Ocqueoc Falls Highway and Little Ocqueoc River. You can see the river flow under M-68 when you drive over. To get to the hillside where the river flows out from underground, take Silver Creek Road north almost to where it splits before Black Highway. The turnout spot will be on your left. You will pass at least two turnouts on your right before this: the trailhead parking lot and two track road(s). I was surprised to find this spot labeled on Google maps when I looked as I am writing this review. I had not found that before our visit!

Little Ocqueoc [underground] River

Little Ocqueoc [underground] River
The river gushes out in a couple of different spots, and if you look on the east side of the road where the water is coming from, you will not see the river at all. Some trees had recently fallen before our visit, so the river is not as visible as I hoped in my photos (remember, you can enlarge photos by clicking on them). We thought this river was very cool and worth a visit. Even though the road is seasonal, it was not difficult to navigate by car.

Huron-Sunrise trail in front of state park entrance

Huron-Sunrise Trail to Rogers City and 40 Mile Point Lighthouse

We took the paved bicycle trail from the state park to Rogers City one day, and to the lighthouse another day. You can get to the trail through the park entrance, and there is also a dirt trail (covered with some wood chips) from the campground near campsite 31. If you plan to return to the campground on this trail, look around at the landmarks when you exit, because the trail into the campground is difficult to spot from the paved trail (especially when riding rather than walking).

View from stop at picnic table on Huron-Sunrise Trail
The ride to Rogers City from our campsite was about five miles one-way. It was a pretty easy ride, even though it was windy. We passed a couple of benches and picnic tables before we got to town, and there are several parks as you get to town: Seagull Point Park, Trout River Park, North Shore Park, Lakeside Park, and South Shore Park. We had planned to visit the Maritime museum in town; however, it was not open. The website says it is open everyday at 10:00 a.m., and we tried to visit on a Saturday shortly before noon. We had lunch in town at Scill's Grill. The food and service were both good. I was told there will be a brewery in Rogers City next year!

40 Mile Point Lighthouse sign
The ride to the lighthouse was a bit more difficult than riding to town, as the route is hilly. It is a short ride though; less than three miles one-way. There is no charge to visit the lighthouse or buildings on the property. The Joseph S. Fay Shipwreck just off shore is visible on a clear day. We observed some nice souvenirs in the gift shop on site.

There are more parks and campgrounds in the area, and many more sights and activities than we were able to see. I am disappointed we missed hiking in Herman Vogler Conservation Area.

Wading at Ocqueoc Falls

This last picture did not fit well in the Ocqueoc Falls detail above. Let me know if you have any questions!