Bond Falls is on the Middle Branch of the Ontonagon River in Ontonagon County. The Middle Branch of the River has its headwaters in the pristine waters of Crooked Lake, deep in the Sylvania Wilderness Backcountry of the Ottawa National Forest, about 8 miles southwest of Watersmeet, MI. The river flows east for miles before turning north, running parallel with U.S. Hwy 45. It finally reaches the Bond Falls Flowage, just east of Paulding, MI, in Haight Township in southern Ontonagon County.
From the Flowage to Lake Superior, the river drops 875 feet. Bond Falls is the first significant drop in elevation and drops about 50 feet. The subsequent considerable reduction is at Agate Falls. UPPCO built its dam at the northernmost edge of the Bond Falls flowage to control the water outlet for a steady flow for generating electrical power.
Address: Haight Township, MI
Height: 50 Feet
Water Source: Ontonagon River
There are several significant waterfalls on the Ontonagon River. On the Middle Branch of the river sits Bond Falls. Bond Falls is a few miles east of Paulding in southern Ontonagon County, Michigan. It is fed by the large reservoir that Upper Peninsula Power Company created to harness the power of the water for electricity. Bond Falls is near U.S. Highway 45 between Watersmeet, Michigan, and Bruce Crossing.
Pauling is a tiny town, and you may miss it if not paying attention. A small sign on Hwy 45 indicates the falls. At the turnoff, on the corner, is the only general store in the area.
The Ontonagon River has four significant branches that feed the Ontonagon River, plus several other rivers. Each of the rivers and tributaries contains waterfalls. But Bond Falls and the Victoria Dam on the West Branch of the Ontonagon River are the only two which provide hydroelectric power for UPPCO. Both falls are unique in their setting, and each is worth visiting. As the water flows past Bond Falls, it heads north for about 12 miles to the largest waterfall in the Copper Country, Agate Falls.
Bond Falls has long been a favorite falls for locals of the Copper Country to visit. In the past, seeing the falls from a good site meant descending a series of dangerous steep paths. However, significant renovations were completed several years ago, which made it handicapped accessible. Wooden walkways now allow all to descend to the bottom of the falls. In addition, several excellent viewing platforms have been built and allow for excellent photo-taking.
The Falls drops approximately 50 feet. Depending upon the time of the year or when UPPCO releases excessive water from the reservoir, the cascading water can be pretty spectacular.
Otherwise, summer flow can be expected with a moderate amount of water flowing. There are several areas for resting both at the top of the falls and the bottom. In addition, there are several picnic areas immediately above the falls and on the other side of the access road, where Bond Falls Campground has been established thanks to UPPCO. Bring your camera for beautiful photos. Fall colors after a heavy rain make this an unforgettable experience.