Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is America's first National Lakeshore, established by the 89th Congress of the United States on October 15, 1966. There are opportunities for many recreational activities thanks to the development of trails, campgrounds and roads in and around the Lakeshore’s boundaries. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has two gateways – Grand Marais at the eastern edge and Munising at the west. Sleeping Bear Dunes, The Apostle Islands and Indiana Dunes are the three other national lakeshores that were authorized in subsequent years.
Permission for this Earthcache was granted by the Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore Park Service because of Earthcache’s Leave No Trace principles, and the fact there is no placement of any physical cache container. Having a cache container placed anywhere within any National Park Service boundaries is strictly prohibited. Grand Sable Dune - A Perched Dun, Miners Castle Sea Cave, Miners Castle, Miners Falls and Pictured Rocks View Earth Cache are the other earthcaches currently available at the Lakeshore.
Geological history recorded in the sedimentary rocks and surficial deposits of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is limited to two widely separated intervals of geologic time, the Late Precambrian, Cambrian, and Early Ordovician Periods (500-800 million years before present) and the Late Quaternary Period (two million years before present to the present).
During the Cambrian and Early Ordovician periods, sediments were deposited in the shallow seas and near-shore deltas that covered what is now northern Michigan. These deposits became the sandstone units that are exposed within the Lakeshore. Except for their exposure near Lake Superior, these units are presently covered by a veneer of Quaternary glacial drift.
Bedrock is best observed in the western one-third of the Lakeshore where cliffs rise up to 180 feet from Lake Superior. These extend along the lake about 17 miles from Munising to Beaver Basin. For a short distance inland from the escarpment, bedrock is occasionally exposed.
Ice sheets of all four North American glacial stages advanced and retreated through the area during the Pleistocene epoch. A brief re-advance of ice occurred 10,000 years ago in northern Upper Michigan. Melting of glacial ice within the Superior Basin produced huge rivers that deposited millions of tons of pulverized rock rubble in various configurations to the south of the Superior basin. A sheet of outwash, of varying thickness, was deposited along the south edge of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Meltwater carved several channels into Cambrian sandstone bedrock.
Rivers flowing within the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore have created seven named waterfalls plus several unnamed falls. From west to east, they are Munising, Bridalveil, Miners, Mosquito, Chapel, Spray, and Sable Falls. The sandstone outcrops of the Pictured Rocks escarpment create the many waterfalls in the area.
A waterfall is usually a geological formation resulting from water, often in the form of a stream, flowing over an erosion-resistant rock formation that forms a sudden break in elevation. This break is sometimes known as a nickpoint. Typically, a river flows over a large step in the rocks which may have been formed by a fault line. Over a period of years, the edges of this shelf will gradually break away and the waterfall will steadily retreat upstream, creating a gorge of recession. Waterfalls can occur along the edge of glacial trough, whereby a stream or river flowing into a glacier continues to flow into a valley after the glacier has receded or melted.
The coordinates will take you to parking lot of The Munising Falls Interpretive Center. Munising Falls is located within the city limits of Munising where Washington Street becomes Sand Point Road. The Munising Falls Interpretive Center is at the beginning of the trail to Munising Falls. A quarter-mile walk along a paved path following the Munising Creek leads you to the bas of the waterfall. Two sets of stairs will give different views of the 50 foot waterfall as the water cascades over a sandstone cliff. Watch for ferns, wildflowers, and wildlife including an occasional mink.
The trail is fully accessible to the central falls viewing platform. Please stay on the paved trail. Pets are permitted on the trail to Munising Falls. Please read and follow all regulations in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and at Munising Falls.
There are two logging requirements for the Munising Falls Earthcache.
First, post with your log your picture from the viewing area at the end of the trail with your gps in hand and falls in the background.
Second, email me the elevation levels of each of the viewing areas from lowest to highest. Be sure to let me know what elevation corresponds to which platform – left, center or right as you approach from the trail.
Did You Know?
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is home to three arctic disjuncts, plants whose normal range is far to the north. Arctic crowberry, Pitcher's thistle, and thimbleberry thrive because of the cool and moist microclimates caused by Lake Superior.