MI to CO Road Trip – Day 1

We used Roadtrippers.com to route our trip and it worked so great! It recommends sights to see, places to stay and eat, hikes to do… whatever you need! Then it estimates the gas money you should set aside, the miles on your trip, and the total time it will take.

I arrived in Detroit at 1:30 am… and we drove through the night… Rain + dark skies + deer territory made for a sketchy drive… which made me all the more stoked to see the sun rise over Mackinac bridge in the morning. We wanted to be in the Upper Peninsula by dawn… We made it!

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Big Springs
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On the raft!

Our first stop was Palms Brook State Park in Manistique, MI to see the Kitch-Iti-Kipi or “Big Springs”. A self guided raft floated in the water awaiting our arrival. It was attached to a cable across the water and by the turn of a big captain’s wheel you could take the raft out to the middle of the spring. The park was empty! Yay small towns and not so great weather, we’d take it any day for the sights to ourselves! The water was crystal clear, with a green hue. 45 feet deep and you could see straight to the bottom. Huge schools of trout swam around calmly at the bottom. You could see the springs enter the water from the swirls of sand dancing around the bottom of the spring. What an awesome first stop of the road trip. We took in the peace and quiet then continued on to our second stop.


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Fumee Falls, our first waterfall of many! We were so distracted with directions and trying to find it that we drove right by in on the highway… Haha oops! All the waterfalls in this part of the land is yellow/gold from all the copper and other minerals in it. Interesting huh! All the water levels were also extremely high due to our timing of the road trip happening to fall when all the snow from winter is also melting. Just makes the waterfalls all the more grand to see!

We stopped at another few falls that were a little detour off the main road; Long Slide Smalls and Smalley falls. The short hikes were so beautiful and green! Don’t fall in!


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Long Slide Falls!
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Smalley Falls – Don’t fall in!


Bond falls was huge compared to the first few we saw. There was so much water our feet were getting soaked on the boardwalk!!

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Bond Falls

From here we went up to Porcupine mountains… We went to another waterfall on the way of course (Bononza falls). This waterfall was not yellow.. it was BROWN! Here the

snow runoff was so strong it was sweeping clay and sediment from the river bottom and everything else along it’s path. It was crazy! And because of this, the Michigan lakes were all brown too! Crazy! We got an up close view of Lake Superior as we drove along its coast.

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We made our way to Lake of the Clouds.It was extra foggy so it really was a lake floating in the clouds.. We can’t wait to come back in the fall when the trees are a beautiful rainbow of reds, yellows and greens…

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Lake of the clouds

We made our way to the Presque Isle Scenic Area, also nearby. There was so much to do here! There was a group of 3 waterfalls scattered around this area. It was incredible how much water was flowing in the river and how brown it was!

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Running to the falls!

Our last stop before calling it a day was the Black River Scenic Byway… There were about 5 waterfalls along this little byway. At this point, Marie and I wanted to fit it all in so we full on sprinted to the viewpoints. Sometimes there were little trails we had to walk from the parking lot. Rainbow falls was the best of all, only because the sun actually came out just in time for us to see a RAINBOW! It had been cloudy and rainy all day up until this point.

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Sun is coming out!

Our day was coming to an end… What a great first day on the road! Since we pulled an all nighter the night before, we decided to splurge and give some business to a local motel – the Indianhead motel. We fell asleep as soon as we hit the pillows, with stomachs full of mac n cheese. The world could have been coming to an end right outside our windows and we never would have known.


Hanging Lake – Glenwood Canyon, CO

This place is such a gem… Hidden in Glenwood Canyon, CO, this hike is only 3 miles round trip (1200 feet of elevation gain)… It was formed by a geologic fault that caused the lake to drop  down from the valley above it; the lake literally split in two! It resulted in waterfalls and the beautiful dripping moss that hangs down from the upper part of the lake. Note: Hanging lake parking lot gets really crowded if you go in the morning, so go in the afternoon!


Hanging Lake
Ben being silly!


Me being silly!


Grizzly creek is a great place to hike too if the hanging lake parking lot is full. There are little wooden houses, waterfalls, and a beautiful creek of course.