Tahquamenon Falls – A Fall Adventure

Tahquemenon FallsIt has been well over 10 years since I have set foot at our largest Michigan waterfall. This past weekend we took our first trek to this popular Northern Michigan destination in over a decade. Nestled way up in the Upper Peninsula in a town called Paradise, this stunning Northern Michigan State Park is more crowded than any state park I have ever visited in Michigan. There were easily over 1,000 or more people visiting at the same time as we were. The paths at the Upper Falls were crowded with people and other dogs. We saw a number of people from other countries visiting as well, a welcome but unexpected experience.

The Upper Falls are the most popular part of the park and for good reason. The largest falls in the state of Michigan, they plunge nearly 50 feet and are a full 200 feet across, making them one of the largest falls north of the Mississippi. The Lower Falls of the park have a separate entrance just up the road a bit. Visitors have the opportunity to hike the 4 miles along the river as well, presenting a unique and closer look at the mighty Tahquamenon River.

Big Pine and Fall ColorsOur journey may have begun in the most crowded part of the park however, the moment we stepped onto the Big Pines Trail just past the Upper Falls viewing area, we were on our own. The colors were spectacular and although the trail (over 3 miles) got a bit muddy at times, the views were stunning and so were the trees. The Big Pines Trail is so named not for the number of pines on the trail, but for the size of the 2 largest. Mostly made up of Hemlock, other wetland conifers as well as birch, maple and oak, the two big pines on the trail were the biggest we had ever seen. Over 5 feet in diameter and well over 100+ feet tall, these massive White Pines illustrate well what made them so demanded during the logging era.  A welcome surprise for me especially, this trail offered a much different look at what Tahquamenon Falls State Park has to offer then I remembered.

The Lower Falls were another beautiful part of the trip. Here, visitors have the opportunity to rent a boat for as long as they want and row around within a designated area by the Lower Falls. The Lower Falls are also the location of the campground as well and we happened to be there during their Harvest festival and were met by hundreds of little visitors dressed in costume out enjoying this beautiful fall day.

Another unexpected perk of our trip was the Tahquamenon Falls Restaurant and Brewery. The beer was wonderful, the food was tasty and aside from the wait, I had no complaints. We spent some of our time sitting outside on the porch with dozens of others with our beer, enjoying the warm sunny fall day until our name was called and can’t think of a better place to wait.

All in all, aside from the crowds, which I am sure could have been, at least in part avoided if we had visited on a weekday, this park did not let us down. Beautiful, educational and tasty, I recommend that everyone see this lovely park. Visit the Upper and Lower Falls as well as the bar/restaurant, but get out on a trail and see the other natural areas as well.

Note: This park was dog friendly. Dogs are welcome on the trails as long as they are on a 6 foot leash and under your control.

Filed Under: Upper Michigan


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