Tahquamenon Falls State Park MI

Tahquamenon Falls State Park MI

It rhymes with phenomenon. That’s what was on a sign when we arrived at Tahquamenon Falls State Park, and to this day it’s the only way I remember how to pronounce it.

(You would think I wouldn’t ever need to pronounce it, but a year later when we were at the Grand Canyon, I saw someone wearing a sweatshirt from Tahquamenon Falls. “Tahquamenon Falls!” I exclaimed with probably a little more enthusiasm than was called for. “I’ve been there!”)

The centerpiece of the park is the Tahquamenon River with its waterfalls. The Upper Falls (shown above) is one the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. It has a drop of nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. A maximum flow of more than 50,000 gallons of water per second has been recorded cascading over these falls. The Lower Falls, a series of five smaller waterfalls cascading around an island is found downstream. Although not as dramatic as the Upper Falls, they are equally magnificent.

Longfellow’s Hiawatha built his canoe “by the rushing Tahquamenaw,” and the Ojibwa Indians were attracted to the river because of its abundance of fish and animals along its shores.

Upper Tahquamenon Falls 2

The brownish color of the water is caused by tannins (organic material from decomposing vegetation) in the swamps drained by the river. The extremely soft water (low mineral content), churned by the action of the falls, causes large amounts of foam as well.

Upper Tahquamenon Falls 1

For those who enjoy beer, there is even a microbrewery right near the entrance to the Upper Falls. It is the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub, featuring a selection of brews to suit most palates. I tried the Blueberry Wheat Ale and although I am not much of a beer drinker, I thought it tasted pretty good. For more information about the brewery you can call 906-492-3300

Tahquamenon Falls State Park is located on Upper Falls Drive, Newberry, MI 49868 (Upper Falls) and 6999 N. Lower Campground Lane, Paradise, MI 49768 (Lower Falls).  Telephone 906-492-3415. The park is open daily from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm.

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