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Trails, Parks, Historic Locations, Ski Areas and More in the Crystal Falls area

Crystal Falls is a cozy community in the Western Upper Peninsula, just miles from the Wisconsin state line. You may see deer or even a moose when you visit the area. From the grounds of the Iron County Courthouse in downtown, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the distant horizon, which is especially colorful in the fall.

Bewabic State Park

Located about three miles west of Crystal Falls, Bewabic State Park is a scenic recreation area with rolling hills and old-growth trees. The park has a sandy swimming beach on the western shore of First Lake of the Fortune Lakes. Tennis courts, playground equipment, and a picnic shelter are located near the day use area of the park. Hiking and cross-country ski trails wind around portions of the park. Bewabic State Park's modern campground has 133 sites. There is also a semi-modern campground with four sites. For camping reservations, visit the Michigan DNR's Bewabic State Park web site.

Crystal Falls Area Parks

Lincoln Park is on the east side of Crystal Falls, near the Paint River. The park sits atop a hill and has a nice view of the area west of the river. Playground equipment and picnic areas are located at Lincoln Park. The Paint River Boardwalk is accessible at the park.

George Young Recreational Complex is approximately 10 miles from Crystal Falls. The complex features an 18-hole championship golf course, which is one of the longest courses in Michigan. The golf course earned a 4-star rating by Golf Digest Magazine. Its banquet and conference facilities can be used for weddings, meetings, and events. George Young Recreational Complex has trails for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing. For more details, visit the George Young Recreational Complex web site.

Crystal Falls Trails

There are miles of trails for biking, hiking, and snowmobiling in the Crystal Falls area.
  • Crystal Falls - Iron River Trail - Mountain bikers and snowmobilers can travel 25 miles between Iron River and Crystal Falls using a rail trail. The trail starts at M-69 on the east side of Crystal Falls and then meanders its way north and west before heading south near Lake Emily. The trail then passes US-2 and snakes its way to the south and west through Caspian and then to Iron River. The trail has a ballast surface.

  • Paint River Boardwalk - A scenic boardwalk located at Lincoln Park on the east side of Crystal Falls. The boardwalk has two fishing piers overlooking the Paint River.

  • Paved Trail Along US-2 - Starting on the west side of Crystal Falls near Family Dollar, a paved trail starts on the north side of US-2/US-141. The trail goes west past Citgo, and then trail users will need to cross the road to the trail on the south side of the road. The paved trail then goes west almost two miles, beyond the Victorian Heights Assisted Living Center. The trail can be used for walking, jogging, biking, and roller-blading.

  • Bewabic State Park Trails - The state park has approximately two miles of nature trails that can be used for hiking and cross-country skiing.

  • George Young Recreational Complex Trails - Located southwest of Crystal Falls, the recreation area has trails for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing.

  • Snowmobile Trails - There are miles of snowmobile trails around Crystal Falls and neighboring communities.

Wide-Shoulder Bike Route

Cyclists can enjoy beautiful scenery on a trek between Crystal Falls and Iron River using the wide paved shoulder along US-2. The route features rolling hills and passes Bewabic State Park and First Lake of the Fortune Lakes. The paved shoulder is over four feet wide for most of the route. US-2 typically has moderate traffic, and the route between Crystal Falls and Iron River is nearly 16 miles long, one way.

Use caution, obey traffic laws, and stay alert when riding next to the road. Before you go, it's a good idea to check the State of Michigan's construction database to make sure there will not be any construction on the road that can interfere with your ride.

Canoeing & Kayaking

On the east side of Crystal Falls, the Paint River Access Site on the north side of M-69 provides an area to launch kayaks and canoes on to the Paint River.

If you paddle south of the access site, you enter the Paint River backwaters of the Little Bull Power Dam. It's approximately 9 miles to the dam from the M-69 bridge.

Several miles northwest of the Crystal Falls access site are the Hemlock Rapids and Lower Hemlock Rapids, which can offer experienced whitewater paddlers a challenge.

Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding

Once snow blankets the area, the Crystal Falls area offers plenty of winter fun.

Ski Brule is a favorite with skiers and snowboarders. The resort is 25 miles from Crystal Falls, and it's been voted as "Favorite Overall Resort in the Midwest" by OnTheSnow.com for four years in a row. The resort opens in November and closes in April. The area gets lots of natural snow, but the resort also has top-notch snowmaking facilities for great downhill skiing and snowboarding. Cross-country skiers can enjoy the resort's 23 kilometers of trails.

Closer to Crystal Falls, you can enjoy Crystella Ski Hill. The facility offers nice hills for beginners and can be used by skiers and snowboarders. Two tow ropes take visitors to the top of the hills. Crystella Ski Hill has a warming house and a free skating rink.


One of Michigan's finest trout fishing rivers is the Paint River, which snakes along the east side of Crystal Falls. Fishing piers are located along the Paint River Boardwalk at Lincoln Park. The Paint River is good for wading and fly-fishing also.

Historic Locations & Markers

Crystal Falls was part of the mining boom of the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Crystal Falls Iron Company mined millions of tons of iron ore in the area, transporting the ore to cities around the Great Lakes via the Chicago and North-Western Railroad. Several buildings that were built around this time period still remain in Crystal Falls.

A focal point in downtown Crystal Falls is Iron County Courthouse. The cornerstone for the building was laid in September 1890, with work continuing through 1891. Architect J.C. Clancy designed the Richarsonian Romanesque-style structure, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 24, 1975. A decorative statue that stands at the roofline, above the entrance, represents Law, Mercy, and Justice. A Michigan historical marker and an Iron County Heritage Trail marker are located near the entrance to the courthouse.

Harbour House Museum is located in a house built in 1900. The building has a unique steamboat-style architecture, with the porches on the lower and upper levels wrapping around the house like an old riverboat. The museum features exhibits related to Ojibwe Indians, mining, veterans, and much more. Harbour House Museum is located at 17 North 4th Street. For tour information, visit the Harbour House Museum web site.

The Crystal Theatre was rescued in 1989 and restored for a grand re-opening in 1991. The theater was originally built in 1927 and presented vaudeville shows and silent movies with live theatre organ accompaniment. When the theatre was restored, a vintage Moller pipe organ was purchased and installed. For a current schedule of featured shows, visit the Crystal Theatre web site.

Other historic buildings include Crystal Falls City Hall (1914), Crystal Manor (1923), and Crystal Falls Township Hall (1931).

More About Crystal Falls

There are several restaurants in downtown along Superior Avenue/M-69, including the Infield Bar & Pizzeria and Raven's Nest Pizza. On US-2/US-141, there are other choices for eateries.

You'll find several shops and businesses along Superior Avenue/M-69 and US-2/US-141. IGA Grocery is located on US-2/US-141 on the west side of Crystal Falls.

If you want to spend the night, The Falls Motel and Four Seasons Motel are lodging choices in Crystal Falls. If you like to camp, Paint River Hills Campground and Michigan DNR's Bewabic State Park provide camping facilities.

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