The drive out to Lac La Belle is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Okay, there’s not exactly any hustle and bustle to be found anywhere on the Keweenaw, but still, this area feels like you’ve really escaped from it all. And there’s no better place to kick back and relax, than in the cool mist of Haven Falls.
Haven Falls, Lac La Belle, and Bete Grise are located on the eastern side of the Keweenaw Peninsula. To reach the area, take Gay-Lac La Belle Road, either from the community of Gay, Michigan or from US 41 at Delaware (about 10 miles south of Copper Harbor).
Haven Falls is located just west of the “Y” split — if coming from Delaware, stay right. To reach Bete Grise, go left at the split. If you’re coming from Gay, you’ll arrive at Haven Falls first.
There are plenty of waterfalls on the Keweenaw Peninsula, but I’d rank Haven Falls as one of the best. This waterfall is tall, beautiful, and easy to access, at the side of Gay-Lac La Belle Road.
I arrived at Haven Falls near the end of the first week of October, and the fall colors were just starting to show. The falls were already surrounded by some color – and I’d imagine it was even better about a week later.
Haven Falls is located in a roadside park. You can see it from the road, and a short walk will bring you up to the foot of the falls. Of course, there are picnic tables if you want to stay a while, and it’s a great, relaxing spot to linger.
Mount Bohemia, over Lac La Belle
Lac La Belle and Bete Grise are in the shadow of Mount Bohemia — which looks like a big lump from the shore of Lac La Belle (the lake with the same name as the community). In the winter, there’s a ski resort here, that offers “extreme” skiing — no beginners allowed. The resort gets between 250 and 300 inches of snow a year. It has no snow-making equipment and they don’t groom the trails, which are almost all black diamonds (meaning they’re very challenging).
If you continue around Lac La Belle, through Bete Grise, and then onto the narrow strip of land that separates it from Lake Superior, you’ll end up at the end of the road.
This area is part of the Bete Grise Preserve. A canal provides nautical access between the big lake and the small one. Across the way, you can see the Mendota Lighthouse. It was built around 1895, automated in 1933, decommissioned in 1956, and re-lit in 1998. It’s now privately owned, and as far as I can tell, there’s no road that gets any closer than this.
I was actually in Lac La Belle twice on this trip — which explains why the waterfall picture is so sunny and the lighthouse pic is so cloudy. On one of those days, I headed on out Smith’s Fisheries Road from Bete Grise to the Bare Bluff hiking trail in the Grinnell Memorial Sanctuary (more on that hike on a separate page). On the other day…
I drove out and back from US 41, and found some excellent fall colors along the way. There are not a lot of detours off Gay Lac La Belle Road, however, Wyoming Road was an excellent place to see the Autumn colors. This spot probably peaked around the second week of October, so plan accordingly.
Here’s a look at the drive to Gay, Michigan, and on to Lac La Belle and the Bare Bluff trailhead:
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The Bottom Line
The drive out to Lac La Belle will take you to one of the most remote parts of the Keweenaw Peninsula, but it’s well worth the drive if you’re searching for fall colors, or you’d just like to enjoy one of the peninsula’s nicest waterfalls, Haven Falls.