Hold On To Your Butts and Go Cliff Jumping in Michigan’s UP
Here are the details on how to get there and what to bring.
Marquette's Presque Isle Park lakeshore is home to some of the most beautiful views in the Upper Peninsula. It's also home to a time-honored tradition: cliff jumping, also known as cliff diving.
And trust me, it's NOT for the faint of heart.
If this 37-year-old mom/radio host can do it, so can you. Here's the deal:
When you get to Presque Isle Park, you'll want to drive straight to this road. It's not far from the entrance.
HEADS UP: the road above does is a ONE-WAY STREET and does NOT open until 1 PM on most days. When we got there at noon, the road was blocked off with a chain (you can see the yellow barrier to the left). So, if you're wanting to cliff dive before 1 PM, you'll have to park and make the approximately 1-mile-long walk.
The nice part about the walk, however, is that there are no cars to worry about. However, when you're leaving, if the lot has since opened, the road will be heavily trafficked, so be careful on your walk back to your parked car.
The lot was empty when we got there; this is what it looked like when we left.
If you're feeling extra adventurous, you can take the slightly-treacherous path down to the beach. You can't miss it; hang a right when you see it. If not, continue down the road to the parking lot.
If you feel like you or your kids need one but don't have one, there are life vests available in the parking lot.
Now, let's talk about this little cove of paradise. The beach is all rocks and not very big, but most people don't hang out there anyways. There are multiple trails and a million places to lay your beach towel out around the Black Rocks.
After I jumped (see video at the top of the page), I spread out and enjoyed watching everybody else take the plunge.
Full disclosure: this was my first time here, so I didn't know what to expect. One of the men on the beach said that this was the most people he had ever seen on the rocks.
To get up on the rocks, you can either hike up, hike around, or get in the water and swim to the rocks. Just follow the crowd.
As far as jumping, even though it was crowded, there was no "line," so to speak. You pick which part of the rocks you want to jump off of and wait for an opening. Everybody is super nice and will wait for you if you get a moment of cold feet.
People of all ages were doing it. So, if you want to, go for it!
Don't let the tiny little cove fool you - there's a lot more to see on the rocks, so make sure to explore.
A few user-friendly tips:
- It helps to wear sandals or water shoes, as the rocks can be very slippery. If you don't have any, just be extra careful.
- Bring sunblock and plenty of water
- It's NOT as high as it looks when you're at the top, so just JUMP!
- If the water temperature makes you nervous, jump FIRST, don't wade in.
When the area is busy, local police will send a patrol car out to keep an eye on things. There have been two deaths from cliff jumping in the area, according to the local fire chief. One was from somebody slipping on the rocks; the other was somebody who jumped late at night and was swept away.
There are NO LIFEGUARDS on duty, so don't go alone and make sure that you're using your best judgment. Let me tell you - it's TOTALLY worth it.