Haven Park Falls sits on the Little Gratiot River, which has its headwaters on Gratiot Lake. The river is then joined several miles further northeast by a stream flowing out of Deer Lake. Little Gratiot River then flows northeast to Lake Lac La Belle. The importance of Haven Park Falls lies in its history.
The mines of Keweenaw County early mining history recognized the possible benefits of using Lake Lac La Belle’s proximity to Lake Superior. The Mendota Mining Company was the first mining group to attempt to build a stamp mill and smelter on the shores of Lac La Belle, but they failed in 1867 for lack of capital. The next group, the Conglomerate Mining Company in the 1880s, which bought out several older mines, including Delaware and the Pennsylvania Mining Companies, decided to build a large stamping mill using the waters of the Little Gratiot River and also, when needed, the waters of Lac La Belle itself. They dug a tunnel to Lac La Belle and used pumps to fill the reservoir above the Stamping Mill. The Conglomerate built the stamping mill in the 1880s, but this project also failed due to various reasons. Today, only remnants of the old foundations remain.
Lac La Belle is an inland lake, two and a half miles in length, east and west, and from one-half to a mile in width. It is west from Bete Grise Bay in Lake Superior, about three-fourths of a mile, and is connected by a natural channel one-fourth mile long and by an artificial one cut directly east and west to join up with Lake Superior and is three-fourths of a mile long. The Mendota Mining Company expended much capital to build this Canal in 1866, but in 1867, the mine closed. Eventually, the Conglomerate Mining Company bought it and spent additional money to open up the Canal, which had begun to fill with sand. Today, Lac La Belle is a small resort area with private cottages lining the shoreline.
Haven Park Falls is picturesque but often is merely a drive-by falls that people see from the road, not aware of its fascinating past and how it is related to the early mining history of Keweenaw County. However, choose to stop at the park and enjoy the falls. You will find that it is a favorite for exploration. Young adults, younger children with adult supervision, and older people in good physical condition can climb the area around the falls.
While unassuming, Haven Park Falls can provide lots of enjoyment and an excellent place for a destination picnic.
Haven Park is located in Lac La Belle, MI, in the Upper Peninsula. Now, for over 100 years, the area has been turned into a roadside park. To find this picturesque treasure, take the Lac La Belle road south from US-41, approximately one mile east of Delaware. Continue on this road for 4.5 miles; when you reach the fork at the bottom of the hill, turn right. Travel an about a half-mile, and Haven Park Falls will be on the right. are at the, and you can see the falls from the car as they will be at the back of the roadside park.
Address: US-41, Lac La Belle, MI
Height: 15 feet
Water Source: Haven Creek
Two miles northeast of Haven Park Falls is beautiful Bete Grise Bay on Lake Superior. Local people love Bete Grise mile-long sandy beach and its excellent swimming. From the beach, you can see Bear Bluff and Montreal Falls to the north. Or you can walk to the Mendota Canal to the south, which connects Lake Superior to Lac La Belle. Across the Canal, you will see the Mendota Lighthouse, obviously named after the Mendota Mining Company, which initially built the Canal to be a beacon to the expectant ore ships which would carry away the copper from their smelter on the northwest shore of Lac La Belle.
The beauty of Lake Superior, the quaintness of Lac La Belle, and its sunrises and sunsets will fulfill your heart's desire. This area has something for everyone.