The Tahquamenon Falls State Park consists of Upper Falls and Lower Falls. The park covers approximately 40,000 acres (16,000 hectares). The majority of the park is undeveloped woodland and there are few roads, structures or powerlines outside of the main park facilities. These include campsites (both modern and rustic), viewing platforms, grills, gazebos, walking and hiking paths, and giftshops. There is a large park headquarters as well as smaller stations at the entrance to the falls which park employees run.
This is the famed land of Longfellow's Hiawatha. Hiawatha was said to have built his canoe "by the rushing Tahquamenaw". This has long been an area where the Ojibwa fished, hunted, farmed, trapped and lived. In the 1800s, those seeking timber came and became the first permanent white settlers in the area. Most of the park land including land on both sides of the falls was donated to the State of Michigan in the 1900s by the former owner, a logger who had numerous camps in the area. In his donation, he included certain stipulations which have protected the wildness of the park and prevented its overdevelopment.
Flora and fauna
The sandhill crane has nesting sites in this Park. Moose, bears, coyotes, foxes, and other woodland mammals can be spotted in the park.
The entrance to the park is located on Michigan highway M-123 which itself is a beautiful drive. The Upper Falls, the bigger ones, are about 23 miles north of Newberry. The lower falls is 4 miles up the road closer to Paradise. Both are marked with signs. This stretch holds most of the park facilities although there are campgrounds and hiking trails in other areas.
There is no public transport and no bike lanes although both walking and biking to the park are possible. The primary means of getting to the park (and around in the UP) is by personal automobile. The road can be busy in summer but is in the wilderness and is often quiet. In winter the road can be difficult as it is plowed less frequently than the nearby towns and generally gets more snowfall.
Fees and permits
- There is a small entrance fee to the park, collected upon entry. Daily motor vehicle fees are $6 for Michigan residents, $8 for non-residents. An annual permit that covers all Michigan State Parks is $24 for residents, $29 for non-residents. A towed vehicle requires an additional $6 permit.
Contact the Tahquamenon Falls State Park for more information (+1 906-492-3415). Also view the State Park website.
- The Upper Falls - These are one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. The falls drop nearly 50 feet and they are more than 200 feet across. During times of abundant rains, the flow is enormous; a maximum flow of more than 50,000 gallons has been recorded before.
- The Lower Falls - These are four miles downstream from the Lower Falls. They consist of a series of five smaller falls. It is possible to see them from the bank of the river, or you can purchase a rowboat rental and row across to the island. This is definitely worth doing and only costs around $10. You can walk around the small island and see the five falls from every angle. It is an easy walk for any person.
- Visit the falls and walk around them.
- Camp in the park - There are camping facilities available (see below).
- Canoeing on the Tahquamenon River
- Nature study - moose, birds, black bear, coyotes, bald eagles, otter, deer, fox, beaver, mink, etc. Bird life includes spruce grouse, sharptail grouse, pleated woodpeckers, songbirds, bald eagles and waterfowl.
- Photography opportunities - In summer the wildlife is fascinating and in winter the frozen falls and ice formations are excellent photographic subjects.
- In winter - There are miles of marked trails for snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross country skiing
Tahquamenon Falls Brewery and Pub sits near at the end of the parking area near the Upper Falls. This restaurant serves pastas, whitefish, burgers and other fare, as well as a selection of beers brewed on-site. Built in the style of the logging camps that once covered the UP, the restaurant is owned and operated by the family who used to own this area, and donated this land to the State of Michigan to form the park.
There are four campgrounds. They consist of two modern campgrounds at the Lower Falls and a modern and partially modern campground at the river's mouth.
- Follow all sensible precautions with respect to bears, coyotes and ticks.
|Routes through Tahquamenon Falls|
|Ends at ← Newberry ←||W E||→ Paradise → Ends at N S|