Hungarian Falls is a local hotspot featuring moderate to advance hiking trails along both sides of the falls. The upper access trail is an easier walking trail that leads to the top of the cascading falls. This is a rustic hiking and nature area. There are few fences or barriers. Please consider your risk when viewing and enjoying the Falls. A pond is dammed off at the top of falls, a great place to see natural wildlife and fish. Open all year, both locals and visitors enjoy the views of the unique geology, fishing opportunities, and scenic hiking trails.
Planning your visit
The Hungarian Falls Nature Area is open year-round to the public. Visitors can hike in from multiple locations, either along the gorge from Tamarack City or in from Golf Course Road, a seasonal dirt road that is unplowed in winter. An old access drive in from Golf Course Road is very rugged and cars should not drive in. Ample parking is available along Golf Course Road in the warmer months. Please, be respectful of the property. This is a highly visitied site, we could use help picking up litter and please do not burn garbage or other materials near the pond.
Keep close watch of small children and dogs as the rugged geology creates many cliffs. Visitors are permitted to enter the water and climb the cliffs at their own risk. Do not part-take in any activity above the skill level of any individual.
Camping and fires are not permitted at Hungarian Falls. ATVs should stay off of obvious footpaths to help reduce erosion throughout the gorge. Stick to the main foot trails and do not go off on little goat paths- these can erode the edges in heavy rain events.
Why this place is special
A prized rustic recreational spot located in the heart of the Keweenaw, Hungarian Falls is one of the most visited destinations for both tourists and local residents. A series of impressive waterfalls cascade down the steep gorge before draining into Torch Lake near the small town of Tamarack City. Mixed hardwood forests fill the valley, with towering white pine, dense hemlocks, maple, oak, birch, and other native species providing shade in summer and beautiful hikes in the autumn. A series of trails meander their way up both sides of the gorge, allowing hikers an almost unlimited number of viewpoints from which to enjoy the waterfalls’ scenic beauty. The Keweenaw Fault, a billion-year-old geological feature, is exposed at the uppermost falls and provides insight into the history of how the Keweenaw landscape was formed long ago.
Conservation from the Community
In the final days of 2012, KLT was alerted that the uppermost falls in the gorge were put up for sale by the local Torch Lake Area Fire Protection Authority. Public reaction to the news was swift, with overwhelming support for the KLT to step in to protect public access to this special place. Challenged by the KLT Board of Directors, we set out on an ambitious fundraising effort, and the public took to the challenge and quickly spread the word – let’s top off Hungarian Falls! Donations poured in from across the country, with local residents and Copper Country transplants alike chipping in as much as they could to keep their memories alive. The results were overwhelming: in just 60 days, we raised well over $50,000 to protect the uppermost Hungarian Falls. After completing the legal work to secure ownership, KLT finally assumed responsibility for the 10 acres containing the uppermost falls, historic dam, and pond in the fall of 2013.
Stewardship efforts are ongoing. Local residents are helping pick up garbage to keep the trails clean for visitors, and volunteers from Michigan Tech helped create a new rustic trail on the west side of the pond. KLT is working with the DNR to formulate a working relationship to repair and consolidate trails and stewardship efforts in the gorge. A senior design project led by Professor Stan Vitton with students from Michigan Tech completed a study of the Hungarian Dam and stream dynamics in the fall of 2013, determining that the dam poses little to no risk of catastrophic failure, even in our children’s lifetimes. Other students from the Visual & Performing Arts department at Michigan Tech are recording the soundscapes heard at the falls, creating intriguing pieces that make you aware of the sounds around us. The Hungarian Falls gorge is a hotspot for unique geology, providing a perfect location for students and professors in the Geoheritage movement to showcase their studies to the greater public.