Michigan State Parks: Laughing Whitefish Falls

Two adults in front of Laughing Whitefish Falls
View of Laughing Whitefish Falls from the bottom observation deck

Laughing Whitefish Falls State Park is home to one of the Upper Peninsula’s many impressive waterfalls. It is located about 30 minutes southeast of Marquette.

While Laughing Whitefish Falls State Park is around 960 acres, pretty much the only thing at the park is the waterfall. There are also 2.5 miles of trails, which includes a small section of the North Country Trail.

Two adults in front of Laughing Whitefish Falls entrance sign

The DNR website indicates there is a picnic area, but we didn’t see any picnic tables or other amenities. I believe there was a vault toilet.

Side note: Until recently, the state park was designated as a state scenic site and the entrance sign still reflects that. We’re not clear on when or why it was changed, but it’s usually for technical reasons regarding resource allocations.

Why the name Laughing Whitefish?

Laughing Whitefish Falls gets its name from the Native Americans that once called the area home. They believed a rock formation at the mouth of the Laughing Whitefish River where it enters Lake Superior resembled a laughing whitefish. If you weren’t aware, whitefish is one of the most well-known fish species in the Upper Peninsula.

Viewing Laughing Whitefish Falls

From the small parking lot, the falls are an approximate half mile walk down a dirt path. The path leads through the woods and along a little creek. Don’t forget to stop and look at the flowers and maybe glimpse some wildlife.

Laughing Whitefish Falls
View of Laughing Whitefish Falls from the top
Laughing Whitefish Falls
View from the middle of the steps

At the falls is a set of steps with three observation decks at different levels allowing you to get varying perspectives and views. Bring your camera!

While it’s billed as one of the most impressive waterfalls, the day we visited in early fall, the water was relatively slow. I’m sure it is much more magnificent in late spring during the snowmelt runoff.

Either way, the rock formations of the waterfall itself and the surrounding area are also very remarkable and worth the trip.

Some of the really cool rock formations

We have plenty more adventures to come, so subscribe to this blog and our YouTube channel. We have a video about Laughing Whitefish Falls State Park here. You can follow us on Instagram, our Facebook page, and Twitter. Plus, you can see each of the parks we visited on this interactive Google Map. You also can keep track of our activities on social media with the hashtags #hikecampgo and #mistateparks100.

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