Tahquamenon Falls

Tahquamenon Falls is one of Michigan’s natural wonders and a scenic beauty that has attracted visitors for years with its unbeatable sounds and sight. Tahquamenon Falls are a set of two waterfalls located 6.4 kilometers apart on the Tahquamenon River. The waterfalls are the centerpiece and the main attraction in the Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Michigan’s second-largest state park covering approximately 187 sq.km of land. The more popular upper fall is about 60 meters across and drops roughly 14 meters, while the lower falls is a series of five small streams. The Tahquamenon Falls is colloquially known as “Root Beer Falls” because of the brown color and the frothy form formed as the water drops down 14 meters.

Location

Tahquamenon Falls in Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Rushing waters over a flooded upper Tahquamenon Falls in Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Upper Michigan. 

The upper and lower Tahquamenon Falls are located within the Tahquamenon Falls State Park, which covers about 187 square kilometers of land bordering Lake Superior. The State Park is located in the eastern part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, partly in Chippewa County and partly in Luce County. Tahquamenon Falls itself is located in Luce County, Michigan, between Paradise and Newberry. The two waterfalls are 6.4 kilometers apart, with the lower falls located downstream.

Description

Upper Tahquamenon Falls in Tahquamenon Falls State Park.
Close up aerial photograph of the upper waterfall cascade at Tahquamenon Falls State Park.  

Tahquamenon Falls is a group of two falls that are 6.4 kilometers apart. The upper waterfall is the more famous of the two falls and the second-most voluminous vertical water drop in Eastern United States after Cohoes Falls in New York. However, it is the third most voluminous waterfall on the eastern part of Mississippi River after Niagara and Cohoes Falls. The upper falls is 60 meters across, with water plunging about 14 meters into the flowing stream. Approximately 190 cubic meters of water cascades down the falls every second. The upper waterfall is notable for its brown water and the frothy form as it falls 14 meters, earning it the name “Root Beer Falls.” The brown color results from the tannins leaching cedar trees and hemlock.

Lower Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Lower Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. 

While the Upper Tahquamenon Falls is the main attraction in the state park, the lower falls are equally dramatic and magnificent. The lower fall, located 6.4 kilometers downstream, is a series of five small streams dropping around an island, which can be accessed by a rowboat. The small falls can be viewed from the island or riverbank.

Attractions

Tahquamenon Falls during winter
A winter wonderland surrounds the Tahquamenon Falls in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 

The Tahquamenon Falls are just one of the many attractions in the Tahquamenon Falls State Park. Over 45 kilometers of hiking trails and winter trails lead to and run between the falls. The Tahquamenon River and the two falls are flanked by green vegetation. The trees are famous for their stunning fall color that provides a perfect backdrop for the waterfalls. The 1-km nature trail on the upper falls is also a major attraction for nature lovers. The state park is a popular destination all year round. During winter, the upper falls and the resulting stream freeze. Thus, visitors can enjoy winter camping, skiing, and snowmobiling. The Giant Pines Trail Loop offers an incredible view of the frozen Tahquamenon Falls. The frozen falls are accessible via the snowmobile trail. Nearby sites include The Tahquamenon Logging Museum and Lake Superior.

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