You can fish, camp or relax lazily in the sun. For bird watchers, our area is home to numerous species. If you enjoy hiking, trails are constantly being improved and new ones developed. In season, hunters can pursue whitetail deer and the elusive ruffed grouse.
We have a nature-watcher’s paradise. Waterfowl and small game animals abound. Some of the best spots for camping, fishing, and boating are located in the local recreation areas.
In winter, ice fishing, cross country skiing and snowmobiling reward visitors with a close-up glimpse of an unfamiliar world clothed in white!
Winter in Iron County is incomparable! Snap on your boots and take to the slopes. Your pulse quickens as the chairlift scoops you up and begins your ascent to the top.
Plan your strategy; a peaceful cruise through the woods, past stands of pines draped in glistening white or a fast-paced run down the face of the mountain.
Whether it’s down-hill skiing or cross-country, Crystal Falls and the surrounding area has it all.
Cross Country Skiing
The trails at the Listening inn are always a nice work out, we have 14k of groomed tracked trails for the classical skier, beginner to intermediate. Rolling terrain and beautiful scenery is what upper Michigan is all about.
Lake Mary Plains Pathway – Copper Country State Forest
Located just east of Crystal Falls, and off of M69 the Lake Mary Plains Pathway offers over 25 km of well groomed trails. The scenic pathway begins along Glidden Lake and offers loops for beginners (green label) through experts (black label). Trails here are primarily for classical skiers looking for scenery and natural challenges.
Ge-Che cross country ski trail – Ottawa National Forest
Located west of Iron River, MI, just 26 miles from Crystal Falls, at Ottawa Lake, the Ge-Che (“Big Lake” in Ojibwa) offers 8.5 miles of groomed trails. 6 miles of beginning level and 2.5 miles of expert level trails present a very interesting and challenging day of skiing for the cross country enthusiast. The web of trails winds along Hagerman Lake, Lake Ottawa and Bennan Lake. More information on this trail can be obtained from the Iron River Ranger District, 990 Lalley Road, Iron River MI 49935 or call 906.265.5139.
Winter in Crystal Falls & Iron County continues to entertain the outdoor enthusiast. Iron County is a snowmobiler’s paradise. Our 250 miles of carefully groomed trails provide unequaled “sledding.” Each year brings more participants to Iron County as the word gets out that “it doesn’t get any better than this” when it comes to snowmobiling.
Snowmobiling promises adventure along miles of marked groomed trails that connect to extended trails across bordering states and Ontario, Canada. Groomed trails stretch like snow highways through forests, across frozen lakes and streams. Snowmobiling activities include races, derbies and festivals. Rental machines are also available in many areas.
Its just getting light in the east as you pull on your waders. A few birds are chirping to welcome the dawn. It takes a few minutes to gather all of the gear that every trout fisherman must don before entering the stream. The net, creel, box of flies, maybe some #8 hooks and a few “garden hackle.” Sounds like you’re ready to start.
When you get to the stream it’s a good idea to “study the water.” Hmm! No Hatches are on, so no need to tie on the #14 Adams. What will it be? Nymph, wet, streamer? Maybe one of the “garden hackle.” No, save those in case the flies don’t work. They’re always good for the last resort. Tie on the streamer and start fishing.
The water is crystal clear. The bottom is good solid gravel. A few false casts and the streamer hits the water. A few casts later and “bang!” a brookie hits. A few moments and you land your first fish of the day. You’ll probably let the fish lay in your hand for a few minutes as you admire the beauty of a native brook trout. You remove the hook and let it return to the water. You’ll get a bigger one when you get down to your favorite spot.
Sound pretty good? Well this is what to expect when you fish the Blue Ribbon Trout Streams of Iron County. Beautiful scenery, quiet solitude and some of the best doggone fishing you’ve every experienced. Come on up and give it a try.
In addition to our trout fishery, hundreds of nearby lakes and several scenic rivers provide plenty of action for walleye, musky, bass, crappie, as well as all the wonderful pan-fishing your family can enjoy.
Within minutes of Crystal Falls lie two flowages (Michigamme Reservoir and Peavey Falls Pond) which are managed by Wisconsin Electric Co. These flowages provide a semi-wilderness experience reminiscent of Northern Canada. Combined, these two recreational areas provide over 10,000 acres of superb fishing, numerous islands, and over 200 miles of virtually undeveloped shoreline.
Crystal View Golf Course – This is our local course. Located 1/2 mile east of downtown Crystal Falls off M-69. This is a challenging nine hole course located on the banks of the beautiful Paint River and overlooking the City of Crystal Falls. The golf course encompasses about 46.79 acres.
The course opens in the spring as soon as weather permits 7 days a week with Wednesday set aside for the men and Thursday reserved for the women. Mondays allow Senior Citizens to golf at a reduced rate! Rental carts and clubs are available. Visitors are always welcome. Crystal View Golf Course phone: (906) 875-3029. Call City Clerk’s office at (906) 875-3212 during off season for information & rates.
George Young Golf Course – A Championship 18-Golf Course, Located on Chicagon Lake, 8 Miles East of Iron River, Michigan on Highway 424. The facility offers the longest 18 hole golf course in the Upper Peninsula, a nature trail for hiking, cross country skiing and mountain biking trails and a heated indoor pool with Jacuzzi and sauna. Food and beverages are also available in the rustic timber and stone clubhouse, lounge and dining room for those who use the recreational facilities. Call to reserve a tee time!
Stop and smell the fresh air! Listen to nature! Can you hear the lone cry of a Blue jay or the rushing of a clear stream? Take in all the beauty our area has to offer. This can be easily be done when hiking any of our area’s numerous trails.
Horserace Rapids – Horserace Rapids is south of Crystal Falls, east on U.S. – 2, and is one of the premier destinations for hikers and picnickers alike. Follow the road toward the Iron County Airport and south to the rapids. It is a short walk from the parking lot along a well-marked trail to these beautiful rapids.
The wolf is native to Michigan and is thought to have once existed in all 83 counties of the state. The gray wolf subspecies that exists near Crystal Falls is taxonomically the same animal that currently resides in other parts of the upper Great Lakes region. The animal is more commonly known as the gray wolf, timber wolf, or eastern timber wolf. There is always a chance, when hiking, that you might come upon a pack. To get more information on local wolves contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Bewabic State Park – The trail starts in the campground and ends in the day-use area of the park. It takes about one hour to hike.
Glidden Lake Foot Paths – There are three loops to these trails. The starting point begins in the parking area. Loop #1 is 3.4 miles, loop #2 is 4.5 miles and loop #3 is 3.9 miles. There are signs every 1/2 mile to follow.
Pentoga Park – Brule River Trail starts at the registration booth, crosses County road 424 and continues to the Brule River. It’s a 5 mile long pathway. The Indian Ceremonial Bowl is a short walking trail of one mile.
Wolf Track Nature Trail – This unique self-guided interpretive nature walk is offered to the public by the George Young Recreational Complex. A 1-1/2 mile loop trail (with a 1/3 mile spur to Mt. Margaret) winds leisurely through scenic woods, paced by well-stationed signs interpreting nature in words and art.
Timber Lake Trail – About 11 miles west of Iron River, off U.S. 2, the trailhead is 0.3 miles south on a dead-end gravel road. The narrow trail winds through hardwoods about 0.8 miles to Timber Lake. Timber Lake is a walk-in trout fishing lake.
Within driving distance of Crystal Falls there are many gorgeous waterfalls such as Bond Falls, Agate Falls and Canyon Falls which can provide excellent hiking. Did you know that there are 198 waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula
Paint River – Iron County, 45 miles; 3 days to 1 week. The Paint River rises in the west part of Iron County and flows easterly and southeasterly into the Brule River, finally joining the Michigamme River to form the Menominee River. Its bottom is gravel, sand and rock. Some of the feeder streams have trout and there are some trout in the Upper Paint, but the stream is generally known for Smallmouth Bass. The terrain is cutover poplar land, some swamp, plains, hardwoods and some pine. There are two dangerous rapids, the Hemlock and the Horserace. The latter is a bigger. Don’t run them unless you are a super canoeist. The portage at Hemlock is 1/2 mile, Horserace is 1-1/2 miles. At the power dam take your canoe out 200 feet above the dam on the east side. For the entire trip, put in at the Forest Service canoe landing in the Paint River Forks campground on County Road 657/Gibb City Road at Gibb City or on the township road 1/4 mile north of Gibb City. 6-1/4 miles below the Gibb City bridge, the Net River flows into the Paint. From here down the fishing is best for Northern Pike and Small Mouth Bass. You come to the first portage, Hemlock Rapids, 12-1/2 miles below the Gibb City bridge. You come to your first takeout spot 3-1/2 miles below the Hemlock Rapids at County Road 643/Bates-Amasa Road. Many use this as a starting point to avoid the Hemlock Rapids. You will find the Chicaugon Slough 4-1/2 miles below the 643 Road bridge. Seven and one-half miles below the 643 Road bridge is a public fishing site. This is where the bass fisherman put in. Two miles further on is the US-141 bridge, a good takeout spot. Three and one-half miles below the US-141 bridge is the Crystal Falls Power Dam. You’ll have to line your canoe down the river for 1/2 mile here or make a portage. You can get a truck to pick you up at the dam and take you down to the M-69 bridge, 1-1/2 miles below the power plant. Below the M-69 bridge you enter the backwaters of the Little Bull Power Dam which extends for a distance of about 9 miles. You may portage on the east shore near the dam and continue down the Paint River or by putting in at the diversion canal, you may enter the backwaters of Peavy Pond on the Michigamme River. One mile below the Little Bull Rapids there is a takeout on the right side. One mile below this takeout is the Horserace portage. One and one-half miles below the rapids there is a cleared camp site and road access to US-2 and 141. Four miles below the rapids the Paint River enters the Brule River. The best place to take out is 3-1/2 miles below the mouth of the Paint River at the Wisconsin-Michigan Power Dam in Wisconsin.
Net River – Iron County, 24.5 miles; 2 days. The Net River starts in the upper central part of Iron County, close to US-141 and flows southeasterly to where it enters the Paint River. Logging roads cross the river a mile below the Wide-waters and just north of Mike’s Creek. Put in at Park Siding Road bridge 3/4 mile west of US-141. The east branch of the Net River flows 3/4 mile below the bridge. Six miles below there is the Wide-waters with some of the best Northern Pike fishing in the region. One mile south is Lake Dam. Six miles below the railroad bridge you reach Chipmunk Falls. There is a short portage here. Two and a half miles below is the Snake River. Large boulders make these rapids risky. Three miles to the Paint River.
Brule River – Iron County, 47 miles; 2 or 3 days. The Brule is the border river between Wisconsin and Michigan, entering the Menominee River near Iron Mountain. It’s not a big river, and there are few rapids. Put in at M-73 bridge on the Wisconsin-Michigan border. Watch for shallow rapids. From this bridge to the bridge on M-189, 11-1/2 miles down stream, is good Rainbow Trout fishing. Six miles below the M-189 bridge the Iron River flows into the Brule. The water’s color becomes dull red because of iron ore, it has no effect on fishing. Another takeout spot is 3/4 mile below the mouth of the Iron River at Scott Lake. Other takeout spots are 3-3/4 miles below Scott bridge at Pentoga bridge, 3-1/2 miles further at Rainbow Trail bridge (Rainbow Trail bridge is only accessible from the Wisconsin side), 3 miles further at Carney Dam, 6-1/2 miles further at the US-2 141 bridge, 2 miles further at the Conservation Road terminal or continue 2-1/2 miles to the backwaters. The Paint River flows into the Brule River at this point. The Brule River has both Brook and Rainbow Trout.