Tahquamenon Falls, Michigan
Updated: May 7
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is located in the Northeastern corner of the Upper Peninsula. We like the Tahquamenon area for the following:
Viewpoints of the Falls and playing in the river around the falls.
North Country Trail and other hikes
Whitefish Point historical area and shoreline
Soo Locks connecting Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean via Lake Huron
Tahquamenon Falls is pretty much due North of the Mackinac Bridge. The water has a touch of brown for its color due to the tannins from the cedar trees along the river. The Upper Falls are almost 50 feet tall and 200 feet wide. The Falls are the third largest in terms of volume east of the Mississippi. Niagara is number 1.
The playground of Tahquamenon are the lower falls. These Falls are accessible and the whole area is set for exploring. The river forks around an island that has a easy flat hiking trail for all ages. The water is shallow and for us, was easily navigable by our brood under close supervision. We spent a lot of time wading in the water and looking at the pools for water creatures and attractive rocks. Yes, you can get behind the lower falls and experience the Falls from the inside.
The Lower Falls location has a large parking lot and park store with gifts, souvenirs, and convenience food and ice cream. There is also a playground and large grassy areas to play and picnic. If you are not camping in the area the Lower Falls are setup for a great day trip with a lot of amenities to enjoy your day. There are also paved hiking trails that are easy for strollers.
Row Boats are available for rent at the Lower Falls as well. The boats are down by the shore near the gift store. The rental shop provides boats, oars, seat cushion floats, and life jackets. The boats are fun to explore the waters below the lower falls. The main purpose of the boats are to cross the river and dock at the island for hiking and exploring.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is also located on the North Country Trail. Our campsite backed up to the woods and the trail was behind our site. We used the trail to walk our dogs and explore. There are miles of forested trails that are available to hike right from the campground. There are elevation changes and the hikes can be difficult if you are looking to go miles. The advantage is that you can hike as much as you want and when tired just walk back to your site. The trail was also our path to a nice fishing spot on the Tahquamenon River and a more adventurous route than walking through the campground. The fishing is a lot of fun on the river as we walked the shoreline through the woods and waded in the calm waters. The landscape, flowing waters, and shoreline made for a great environment to fish while exploring.
There is a lot to experience in the region as well. Whitefish Point is about a 30 minute drive North of the Falls. Its a great location for beachcombing. Swim shoes or sandals are helpful for the rocky shoreline and cool water. The Shipwreck Museum is located here at well as the lighthouse and bird observatory. There are nine buildings on the property. Whitefish Point must be passed by all ships going through the Soo Locks. This is the most dangerous part of Lake Superior and more ships have been lost here including the Edmund Fitzgerald. The museum discusses more and is worth a visit. Click here https://www.shipwreckmuseum.com/ for more details and to plan your visit.
The Soo Locks are an engineering marvel. Heavily guarded and managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Locks provide an important shipping lane for the country's economy. If the Locks were to fail it is estimated that the United States Economy would fall into recession. The Locks are about an hour West of Tahquamenon Falls and provide for a good day trip. The first locks were opened in 1855. The property is a walk through time and engineering marvels like this always impress me as they were invented and built without the aid of computers or modern construction equipment. It is amazing what humans can achieve and this is another example. The purpose of these locks are to connect Lake Superior which stretches over to Minnesota and Wisconsin with the Atlantic Ocean. These waters allow for ships to reach the middle of the country. Sault Ste Marie is also a great small city for its nice restaurants, souvenir shops and walkability. Here is more about Sault Ste Marie https://www.saultstemarie.com/attractions/soo-locks/
Don't forget the campground. The campground is a great place to play and relax. Time spent at your site will not be forgotten. To make it easier a wood vendor delivers wood in the late afternoon to supply your campfires. Some of the sites like ours are large and set up for little ones to run around, dig, play yard games, and explore. The campground is busy but people are respectful and kids can bike the campground safely.
In summary, there is a lot to do in and around Tahquamenon Falls State Park. From living history at the Soo Locks and Whitefish Point to the North Country Trail. Outdoors people will enjoy exploring the Falls, fishing, and hiking. People who need a little rest and relaxation can take an afternoon on the beach or the river shoreline. Let us know what you think of Tahquamenon Falls and if you have questions. Oh, and be on the lookout for bear, bald eagle, and moose. If you enjoyed this post please click our affiliate links when shopping. They won't hurt you and we appreciate the support..