Waterfall Heaven: Chutes Provincial Park

Chutes was our last stop in Ontario before crossing back into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The small park contains the section of the Aux Sables River that runs through a series of rapids and waterfalls called the Seven Sisters. This rough section of the river was bypassed by logging chutes in the late 19th and early 20th century which is how the park got it’s name.

Our plan was to hike the 6km trail that parallels the river along each side but we spent just as much time scrambling on the boulders and bedrock that line the shore which led to us racking up a bit more distance. We started in the campground below the bottom waterfall and worked our way upriver mostly on the treed bluff though we did a fair bit of off-trail climbing on the rocks that sloped toward the river. Once we neared the first bridge we lost the little bit of elevation we’d gained as the trail dropped down almost to the level of the water; after crossing the second bridge we remained near the water for probably close to a kilometer. Just after crossing the second bridge we positioned ourselves right across from the confluence of the two branches of the river and, with both bridges in sight, we got some of our finest shots of the wild water rushing through the granite gorge.

Below the following set of falls we were able to find a spot where the froth from the rapids were collecting after the water rapidly lost velocity, and we watched as the white foam spiral along the surface of the eddies. We continued walking downstream but as we neared what we thought was the spot where the last waterfall dropped into the last calm pool we again left the trail and made our way out along the rocks as close as we thought prudent to the edge of the cascade. Abby declined to take a decent selfie with me but we got some nice shots of the falls and the set of rapids just upstream while we ate our apples.

The return trip involved some re-visiting of some of the best spots to view the falls and I of course ended up taking a bunch more photos. We then decided to scramble down to the rocky point at the confluence where we found a whole bunch of new angles and views of the rushing water and fractured rock before eventually returning to our campsite.

Abby at our campsite modeling one of the 30,000 Islands IPAs I picked up at Trestle Brewing the previous week: