Tahquamenon Falls: Pure Michigan Natural Beauty
If you’re a Michigan travel buff, you’ve definitely heard of the Tahquamenon Falls before.
If you’re not, then you’re in for a treat: Tahquamenon Falls is one of Michigan’s most-visited spots, and with good reason. It’s pure Michigan beauty at its natural best, and its practically free: all you need is a Michigan state park pass.
Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls
The Tahquamenon Falls are actually two separate sets of falls that date back millions of years, shaping the rustic landscape of the surrounding park.
Waters from the Tahquamenon River gush over the upper and lower falls at a rate of 50,000 gallons of water per second, making the falls some of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. The famous Tahquamenon Falls are actually just one part of the whole Tahquamenon Falls State Park.
Open all year, this natural haven is a prime example of all the beauty and adventure Upper Peninsula has to offer. Over 30 miles of hiking trails and winter trails await, say nothing of the incredible river.
A casual viewing of the falls is all it takes to be amazed, but if you need a more in depth look into the beauty surrounding them, read on for our guide to the Tahquamenon Falls.
When you think of the Tahquamenon Falls, you might think that it’s just one waterfall on the river. Actually, several waterfalls make up this cascading spectacle. The Upper Tahquamenon Falls are the largest of the falls; 200 feet wide with a drop of 50 feet.
The upper falls are also lovingly called the Root Beer Falls for their signature brown color, jokingly rumored to originate from a nearby root beer factory.
And while unfortunately for us this isn’t true, the true origin of the light brown water color is just as fascinating. Tannins, from surrounding hemlock and cedar trees, give the waters their unique hues.
You can have a closer look of the upper falls from the surrounding viewing areas and hiking trails, or take a riverboat tour for a truly up close and personal look at the falls.
While the upper falls are considered the main event, you can’t miss the Lower Tahquamenon Falls. About 4 miles downstream from the upper Tahquamenon Falls are a series of five smaller falls, making up the lower falls.
The accessibility and beauty of the lower falls gives visitors an opportunity to get even more connected with the park’s scenery.
The smaller cascading falls actually surround their own island, which you can row out to on the river. You can get way more up close and personal with the lower falls themselves, which can also be reached by rowboat. Rowboats can be rented from the Lower Falls concession area from June to October.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
If you want to see more of the surrounding areas, we don’t blame you. The Tahquamenon Falls State Park has over 50,000 acres of flawless Northern Michigan scenery that can be enjoyed throughout every season of the year.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park really is exciting in every season. The park is famous for its stunning fall colors in the autumn, providing the perfect backdrop to the cascading scenery.
The fall colors can be enjoyed best by one of the many hiking trails. We recommend the Nature Trail, a 0.5 mile hike of the upper falls perfect for nature lovers and casual visitors. When you’re planning your Michigan fall color tours, this beautiful area near Lake Superior is one spot you won’t want to miss.
Tahquamenon in the Winter
During the winter season, there’s even more ways to explore this gem. In the winter months, park guests can enjoy snowshoeing, snowmobiling, winter camping, and cross country skiing on over five miles of marked trail near the upper and lower falls.
Cross country ski or snowshoe the Giant Pines Trail Loop for a great view of the frozen upper falls, or take a snowmobile on the trail cutting through the middle of the park.
The snowmobile trail leads directly to the Upper and Lower falls, where you can take in views of the frozen falls. You can even try dog sledding: Nature’s Kennel in Newberry offers dogsledding tours through the Tahquamenon countryside.
More to See at Tahquamenon Falls
There’s even more to do at the Tahquamenon Falls State Park on top of outdoor activities. If you need a break from your hiking, refuel with park concessions near the lower falls. If you need to unwind after a long day of marveling at the falls, visit the Tahquamenon Brewery & Pub.
Dining, micro brews, and gifts are available near the upper falls and the parking lot.
Their micro brewed beers are handcrafted and highlight the true Northern Michigan spirit, with Porcupine Pale Ale and Black Bear Stout. Camp 33 gift shop next door offers souvenirs to commemorate your time in the UP, and pay tribute to the culture of the Upper Peninsula.
Nearby Tahquamenon Falls
If you’ve got more time to spare in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, visit other exciting sites near Tahquamenon Falls. The Tahquamenon Logging Museum serves as a fascinating reminder of Upper Peninsula’s storied history.
Newberry is just a stone’s throw away from more famous spots on Lake Superior, like the beloved city of Sault Ste. Marie; the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory; and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.
Whether you choose to rough it in nature or stop by a nearby brew pub, the Tahquamenon Falls are the perfect destination for all who seek beauty, adventure, and natural wonder in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
About the Author-
Nora Rhein is a student at Wayne State University majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Theatre Management. She writes for publications like The South End student newspaper and Ease Up Magazine. She also serves as the Low Brass Section Leader in the Warrior Marching Band, and loves to explore Michigan’s beautiful parks with her greyhound, Skyrocket.
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