I am pretty sure this isn't the first time that I have written about Tahquamenon Falls in one of my posts. More than likely it will not be the last either. As a Michigander (someone who lives in Michigan), who occasionally travels to the Upper Peninsula, it isn't uncommon to visit the falls multiple times throughout your life.
We left the campground around 10 in the morning and started making our way towards the falls from Brimley State Park. The drive is very beautiful, it takes you along the coast of Whitefish Bay until you eventually find yourself at US 123. The last time my wife and I made this drive along the coast it was a misty/foggy morning and the views were pretty lame. This time it was a bright sunny day and the views of the bay were stunning.
When you turn North on US 123 you eventually pass over the spot where the Tahquamenon river empties into Whitefish Bay/Lake Superior. A short distance after that you reach the small town of Paradise, MI. This summer has been a busy one in Michigan and Paradise was a good indication of that. It was practically overflowing with people! It seems everyone was tired of being cooped up all Spring and they have been spending as much time traveling in the state as possible.
If you continue North up the coast you eventually reach Whitefish Point (that will be another post). If you turn West and stay on US 123 it eventually takes you to Tahquamenon Falls State Park.
There are two sections of Tahquamenon Falls State park. The Southern most one is the Upper Falls which you see here and in the opening shot. I always get them mixed up because my top-down mind always thinks the Northern one should be the Upper Falls and the Southern one the Lower Falls, but that isn't the case.
There are several lookout areas where you can get a decent view of the falls from a distance.
Then there is the 92 step descent to the viewing platform where you can get up close and personal with the falls. I thought about doing a black and white edit for this picture, but the color of the falls is so amazing. It is hard to tell here, but the water is a deep copper color. It is mostly from the tannin and such that leaches out of the cedar swamps that feed the river.
There is a hiking trail from the Upper Falls to the Lower Falls. One day I would like to try to do it as it takes you right along the edge of the Tahquamenon River. I have a feeling the more I put it off the less likely I will be to ever do it. I think it is only four miles or so, and I am sure I could make it one way, but unless you have someone to pick you up, then you have to walk all the way back...
Maybe one day I will brave the bears and take the hike along the river and down the canyon.
While some may not consider the Lower Falls as impressive as the Upper ones, there is definitely much more to do. Due to Covid the Brewery at the Upper Falls was closed, so we hopped back in our cars and headed towards the Lower Falls.
When we got to the park entrance the line was out onto the road. We patiently waited and were pleasantly surprised that we could find a parking spot.
The Lower Falls is separated into two sections. There is a small island in the middle of the river that separates the two parts. This photo is from the western section. They have a walking trail that takes you pretty far upstream to get a good view of the falls. Additionally, you can rent a rowboat and take it over to the small island.
I have a feeling many people make the Lower Falls a whole day trip. Unlike the Upper Falls, the drops are much less severe and navigating the water is definitely more manageable. There are several "pools" where people swim and wade into the water. In fact, there are usually so many people frolicking in the falls that it is often hard to get a decent picture of the falls with no people in it!
Here is some evidence of how accessible the water is just below one of the sections of the falls. If I had to guess there are probably between fifty and one hundred different rock sculptures that people have stacked out in the river.
By now the kids needed a break from walking and we were all getting a little hungry, so we headed back up to Paradise to get some lunch before we headed off on our next adventure. More on that in my next post!
Previous posts in this series:
All pictures taken by myself or @mrsbozz