Monday, June 20, 2016

Tahquamenon Lower Falls, An Adventure for the Entire Family

Capturing The Ideal Photograph
The Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a 50,000 acre property preserving the grandeur and beauty of the Eastern Upper Peninsula for current and future generations to enjoy and appreciate for years to come.  The park has many recreational assets, the prize of which is the Tahquamenon Upper Falls, spanning 200 feet in width with some 50,000 gallons a second dropping 50 feet to the basin below.  Often considered the second largest falls east of the Mississippi, the Tahquamenon Upper Falls is breathtaking in all seasons.

When tourists to the area face the dilemma of having a limited amount of time in the area, they often plan their visit to stop only at the upper falls.  On a hot summer day, an excursion to the Tahquamenon Lower Falls is an experience the family will never forget.  You may have to schedule additional time to truly experience the power of the Tahquamenon River. Or be sure to come back to the Paradise area again soon to explore the Tahquamenon Lower Falls.   Leaving the parking lot and walking toward the Lower Falls, you’ll pass the gift shop, a concession stand, public restrooms, and then, a fork in the foot path.   The path to the left takes you down a few steps to a rowboat livery. 
Rowing to the island in the Tahquamenon River
The price is $7.00 per person for a boat or $20.00 for a family per boat (2016).  The boat is large enough to comfortably seat four adults.  Life jackets are provided and children 12 and under are required to wear their life jackets.  With a gentle nudge and instructions to steer clear of the buoy to your left (clearly identifying a rapids area), you are on your way, paddling toward the island or further up river to your right to look at one set of falls or cast a fishing line should you desire.  This is the perfect time to give your son or daughter a taste of paddling the family or a young man to flatter his bride as he smoothly handles the oars to the island shore.

After pulling your rowboat securely on the dock, it is time to explore the half mile dirt path around the island.  I encourage you to start to your left.  The temperature in the shade of the American Beech, Sugar Maple, Eastern Hemlock, and Yellow Birch is immediately 10 degrees cooler. 
Cooling Shade on the Island Footpath
Naturally felled trees are covered with moss and overshadowed by ferns providing a prime example of the natural vegetation of the surrounding areas.  Walking this island gives you the vantage point of looking at five separate falls areas, the water is so cooling you might find yourself tempted to walk along the edges of this wilderness river where slippery rocks are enticing you to cool your feet.  Better yet, have a seat along one of the flat rocks near the waterfalls and take in the sounds of the rushing waters and the coolness of the gentle mist.  Be inspired to take the perfect photograph of spring flowers, or moss clinging to the sides of the river.

A Cooling Mist, Rushing Waters

Remember that fork in the footpath?  We took a left to the rowboat livery but If you are interested in even more adventure, take the path to the right.  You’ll find several lookouts to peer over the northern lower falls, but should you continue you’ll find yourself on the North Country Trail hiking along the Tahquamenon toward the Upper Falls.  The total hike to the Upper Falls is 4 miles.  Once you arrive at the Upper Falls, relax, enjoy the view.   Dine at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery and Pub Camp 33.  Then you can choose to hike back, mostly downhill or catch a ride with the shuttle.  

Exploring the Water's Edge

Be sure to experience the Tahquamenon Lower Falls, fly fishing the rapids, hiking the island, rowing the river, making memories for the entire family.

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