When visiting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, don’t miss Tahquamenon Falls State Park, with one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River! Watch the video about our visit to this park and then keep reading to learn more about planning your own visit!
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In this post we’ll share the best ways to see and experience Tahquamenon Falls State Park.
About Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is known for its waterfalls. It is a beautiful place to visit to enjoy multiple waterfalls and easy to reach overlooks.
How To Get Here
Tahquamenon Falls State park is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near Paradise, MI. Take a road trip over from northern Wisconsin, or drive up from Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
Upper Tahquamenon Falls
The waterfall is 50 feet tall, 200 feet wide, and at its maximum flow rate it pours 50,000 gallons of water over that ledge per second.
The Upper Falls is just down a short easy paved trail to a few overlooks. There are several different viewing areas along the path to see the falls from. It’s really impressive from any of them.
However, right up close at the main overlook (the Brink View) is most impressive. This location includes 94 steps. Seeing the falls from further back gives you a sense of scale too so we recommend taking a look at it from a few different locations.
The color is one of the most impressive things to us because it looks like root beer. Its nickname is actually Root Beer Falls because of the tannins that come from the cedar, spruce, and hemlock trees in the swamps in the area that this drains. The massive flow volume makes the water churn and gives it all these amber and white foamy colors at the bottom.
Beat the Crowds
If you also head down 116+ steps down the Gorge Boardwalk to the Gorge View, this lower platform has the added benefit that there seems to be fewer people. There was hardly anybody there during our visit compared to the much much busier Brink View.
The additional steps to get down to this view seemed to put a lot of people off from coming down. So definitely come check this viewpoint out if you want to get away from the crowds and get another really nice view of the Upper Falls.
If you have time there’s also the River Trail. It’s about four miles in one direction. It takes you from the Upper Falls to the Lower Falls. There is a shuttle if you don’t want to do an eight mile round trip. But you can also drive between the two locations which is what we did instead.
Tahquamenon Falls Brewery
Before leaving the Upper Falls area, you may want to check out the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery and Pub on site in the state park. That is actually quite unique and unusual. You don’t typically find that in state parks.
The whole concession stand area outside has tables and rocking chairs. It’s named after Camp 33 which was a lumber camp that was in the area before the state park. Inside, the décor is rustic, with a large stone fireplace, mounts, and art. There is a rustic long bar and microbrewery equipment as well.
We tried the craft root beer, and though it is not made by them on site it is on tap. It seemed fitting because of the Root Beer Falls nickname. We also got some ice cream, and a good craft beer, a nice stout. They also have pasties and their famous and locally caught whitefish. It’s a good place to stop if you’re looking for a little snack or a full meal or just beer or root beer.
Lower Tahquamenon Falls
Rather than just being one single waterfall, the Lower Falls is actually a series of five waterfalls around an island. You can see two of them from near the beginning of the trail, but continue on to be able to see all of them.
New Pedestrian Bridge
It used to be that you actually had to paddle yourself to the island if you wanted to head over there. But now they’ve opened up a new pedestrian bridge. They were not currently renting the row boats while we were there, but we think we heard they would be returning in the future.
The pedestrian bridge is a nice shiny new bridge. It is very sturdy and we felt no sway in it at all. It is really nice. Once you are on the island, there is a loop trail to take you around, and then you just return across the bridge the same way you came.
We personally didn’t see a whole lot of wildlife out in the park, but apparently the area is really famous for having a lot of moose. We read the nearby town of Newberry and the area surrounding it is known as the moose capital of the state of Michigan which we found interesting and hoped we might see one at a distance. Apparently many of the sightings of moose happen in Tahquamenon State Park and this just seemed to be a perfect kind of area for them. So if you visit, keep an eye out for moose!
We hope this post convinces you to check out Tahquamenon Falls State Park as well! Have a great trip!
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