Sable Falls is one of my favorite waterfalls in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. It is also one of the easiest to see. A very short hike from the parking lot, then a long staircase. Along the 168 step decent, there are multiple vantage points for viewing the falls. Water cascades 75 feet down through multiple ledges of sandstone surrounded by dense woods. Despite the relative ease of access, it is serene and peaceful.
Sable Falls is both the perfect beginning or end to a tour through the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. After several days of traveling up and down hills and stairs, the climb back up was reminding my legs of their age and a summer devoid of hiking, but the sheer beauty of the falls was worth every single step. Following the Sable Creek for an easy half mile walk leads to its mouth on the Lake Superior shore. The rocky beach provides stunning views along the coast to the nearby dunes. Perpetually windy, the beach is more fun for rock hunting than sun bathing.
We arrived at the falls in the morning, so not too many people were around. Being furthest from Munising and the Pictured Rocks boat tours, the atmosphere was amazingly quiet at Sable Falls. Grand Marais was also a bit of a surprise for us. It has more of a Leelanau Peninsula cottage town feel than others in the UP. Of course, you have to stop for a quick visit at the Pickle Barrel House right while passing through downtown.
Directions to Sable Falls
The parking area is located on County Road H-58, which meanders through the National Park. Sable Falls is at the eastern end of the park near the town of Grand Marais. If approaching from outside the park, come up M77 to Grand Marais, then go about half a mile on H58 to Sable Falls. See the link below for a detailed map of the area.
Sable Falls Parking and Facilities
Sable Falls offers an ample parking lot with limited picnic areas. There is a dedicated bathroom building, which is a bit nicer than some others in the park. There is no ranger station or other facilities here, so bring in whatever supplies you need.
Sable Falls Visitor Tips
- Bring plenty of water and food into the park since there are very limited facilities.
- The staircase to Sable Falls is 168 steps down and, as the warns, 168 steps back up. Make sure you are capable of this climb as there are no other ways to get back up.
- Bugs: Mosquitoes and flies can be bad from May through August depending on weather. Also, tiny biting stable flies can be a nuisance along the beach, so wear pants or long socks to protect your ankles.
- Plan about half an hour to hike down and view the falls. Visit early in the morning when it is quiet.