A Trip to Michigan’s Lower Tahquamenon Falls
Greg Kretovic, author of Waterfalls of Michigan, takes us on a visit to Michigan’s Lower Tahquamenon Falls. Here is his report.
I have to be honest, I don’t know why I didn’t visit Lower Tahquamenon Falls sooner! To me, the Lower Falls is truly a fun adventure for the entire family.
During my visit,
I brought along my
5-year-old daughter, and she had a great time despite the rain. Our favorite part was renting a rowboat (for a small amount) and rowing the 150 yards to the nearby island in the middle of the river. Once you reach there and dock, a 0.5-mile trail follows the perimeter of the island, giving you close-up views of the cascading waterfalls that make up the Lower Falls. The river was running high during our visit, but in midsummer the falls are a popular place to wade and play in the water.
On our return to the mainland, we rowed around a bit, took in the views, and saw people trying their luck with fishing. Back on the riverbank, we followed the boardwalk trail along the north channel to see what the falls looked like from the two different observation decks. They were enjoyable but definitely not as fun as rowing to the island and seeing them from there!
Here’s a breakdown of the falls, as noted on one of the park’s maps. To help you figure out which is which, I’ve made Falls 1 the first falls you see after walking from the parking lot. Then they’re counter-clockwise
Lower Tahquamenon Falls 1: This is the main double-drop cascading falls you see from a distance when walking from the parking lot. On the island, a large observation deck gives you a nice close-up view.
Lower Tahquamenon Falls 2: Located in the north channel, this narrow multilevel cascade is best viewed from the island, as it’s closer to that side of the river. The layers of sandstone make for easy access to play in the water.
Lower Tahquamenon Falls 3: A small island splits this falls from Falls 2, with this cascade being closer to the riverbank side. A large observation deck on the riverbank provides a great straight-on view of the falls. During the warm months, the base of the falls is a hotspot for those looking to cool off and play in the river. The observation deck is about 0.4 mile from the concessions building.
Lower Tahquamenon Falls 4: Located in the north channel, this smaller drop is upstream from Falls 2 and 3. From the island, it’s visible through the trees, and on the riverbank there’s a small observation deck next to it. I enjoyed taking photos from the riverbank side because the jaggedness of the drop seemed to be more visible from that side. It is about 80 yards between the two observation decks.
Lower Tahquamenon Falls 5: This is a small drop that is upstream from the island and before the river divides into channels. It is only really visible from the island and not that impressive.