Crystal Falls Michigan

Crystal Falls is a sportsman’s paradise located between many lakes and rivers offering year-round outdoor activities.  Crystal Falls is a city and the county seat of Iron County, Michigan.  As of the 2020 census, the city population was 1,598. The city is located within Crystal Falls Township, but is a separate municipal entity. The area first developed as a major center for iron mining and the timber industry; it has become increasingly popular for tourism in recent years.

Paint River – CLASS II(III) – 2.8 miles – Michigan whitewater, Iron county, Little Bull Dam to Horserace Rapids section whitewater kayaking, rafting, and paddling information. From  I just took a 30 mile trip down this river with a group of 6 and three canoes. I thought it was great overall. There are a few shallow spots where we had to get out of the boat and pull it through the water but otherwise the depth is good. As far as the quote ”pretty good campgrounds” go, these were not easily found but can be set up in the less dense forests alongside the water. The stretch over the hemlock rapids is a bit difficult on the lower hemlock but the upper is an exciting though slightly wet ride. The overall current throughout the river is not too fast so some paddling is needed. Thats about it, this is a great river. The scenery is beautiful, and if your staying overnight the stars are miraculous, so enjoy the view. If your in the trees alot watch out for ticks, (they found me well) but other than that, enjoy the ride. Says Blake Myers The beautiful scenery of Michigan and the beautiful way the water current moves down the stream beats anything. The put-in location is a reasonable drive from Iron Mountain, if you’re not familiar with the area there’s a road map further down The Little Bull Dam to Horserace Rapids section of Paint River in Michigan is 2.8 miles long and has been rated as a class II(III) section by American Whitewater. You can pitch a tent or park your RV at a nearby campground. Whitewater rafting and kayaking spots in Michigan tend to be more forgiving than the national average, so if you’re not from around here don’t forget that quite a few of the sections in this state are pretty easy. This is a short paddling stretch so no need to bring snacks. The nearby hotels are a bit away from the river, and if you make reservations in advance you’re all set.  Paint River, Little Bull Dam to Horserace Rapids road map – Printable road map with the put-in and take-out locations clearly marked.

Bewabic State Park is situated on Fortune Lake, which is part of the Fortune Lakes Chain. The park is home to both modern and rustic campsites, a day-use area, a tennis court, hiking trails, a boat launch and more. The park is rich with Civilian Conservation Corps history, which is evident by several CCC structures still in use.  Bewabic is one of just a few state parks that allow the operation of an ORV between the campground and nearby ORV trails. The park connects to Twin Lakes and Baraga state parks and Bond Falls Scenic Site via several motorized routes. Please note: ORV use is for exiting and entering the park only, not for traveling within the park.  The park is site #9 along the Iron County Heritage Trail system.  ORV route and trail maps are available for purchase at the park (pending availability) or online at the DNR’s interactive ORV route and trail map.  Before visiting a state park, boating site or trail, it’s always a good idea to check the latest closures due to weather-related events, planned improvement projects and repairs. Visit


Crystal Falls was platted in 1881. It was named for a nearby icy waterfall on the Paint River. A post office called Crystal Falls has been in operation since 1885. The City of Crystal Falls, born of the early iron mining and timber explorations in the southwest of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, sprawls on hilly terrain extending east and west from the banks of the Paint River. It is a city that, in growing from its first settler’s shacks to a picturesque residential community, went into partnership with nature in preserving a natural setting for itself. Most impressive is the Iron County Court House that graces the west end of Superior Avenue, the main business section of the City.


According to the United States Census Bureau, Crystal Falls has a total area of 3.61 square miles (9.35 km2), of which 3.47 square miles (8.99 km2) is land and 0.14 square miles (0.36 km2) is water.  The city of Crystal Falls is very hilly and the castle-like county courthouse (built in 1890) sits on the highest point, overlooking the downtown business district.

Arts and culture

Crystal Falls is home to the Crystal Theater, a regional performing arts center.

Crystal Falls used to have a high veteran population. After both World Wars, a lot of veterans settled in and around the area. Crystal Falls was the last town to still celebrate V-J Day until the early 2000s. They have two big festivals during the summer. A “bass” festival which is a weekend of fun activity and a marathon. Highlighted by the annual “WOPS” vs Sweeds softball game, the mushroom festival replaced the V-J Day celebrations and that has the Polack vs Finns softball game.

Head to the ice the last weekend in February on the Michigamme reservoir for the annual Fisheree tournament. A tradition that most locals look forward to all year.

In April 1992, Crystal Falls received international attention due to the discovery of a giant fungus, Armillaria bulbosa, in the nearby forest. The discovery was announced in articles in Nature and The New York Times. The fungus, known as the “humongous fungus”, covered an area of more than 30 acres (120,000 m2) and had a total mass estimated at 100 tons. At the time it was believed to be one of the oldest living organism on earth, as well as one of the largest.

Although the fungus is actually located in nearby Mastodon Township, Michigan, the city of Crystal Falls adopted it as a tourist attraction, and holds a “Humungous Fungus Fest” as an annual event.