Friday the 13th Camping at Tahquamenon Falls State Park


The late summer sun was just beginning to set when the three of us turned off of the winding, tree-lined road that made its way through Tahquamenon Falls State Park, but the gloom of dreary cloud cover had already begun to foreshadow what was to come.

Luke and I checked in at the campground entrance while Patronus did his best to try and weasel a few pets out of the woman in the booth.

After getting our camping permit and the low down on what to do, we made our way through the campground to find our site.

Luke and I scrambled out of the car, donned our rain gear, and began assembling our tent.

Unfortunately, despite every effort to make quick work of setting up our camp, we weren’t quick enough.  It began to pour.

After getting the tent and rain fly set up, I soaked up all of the water that had gotten in through the mesh while Luke brought me our gear and took care of Patronus.

The three of us hung out in our tent for a bit and got settled in.

Eventually the rain let up.  We were starting to get hungry, so Luke and I made burritos and chili from backpacking meals while Patronus ignored his dog food and instead stole a cheeseburger that Luke had forgotten about.

We stood outside in our rain gear for about an hour, eating our dinner and making Friday the 13th references.

After dinner the rain picked up again, so we decided to call it a night.

I awoke around 5:00 A.M. to the sound of Patronus punching a hole through my sleeping mat.

Luke helped me to patch it, and it held well enough for me to get a few more hours of sleep.

The air was crisp when we awoke again later that morning.

For breakfast, Luke and I shared a blueberry maple crunch backpacking meal and some instant pumpkin spice lattes.

Patronus is just about as much of a morning person as we are, so he napped on the grass while Luke and I ate.

Tahquamenon Falls

Once we had a chance to drink some coffee and have breakfast, we decided to hike to the falls from our campsite along the North Country Trail.

The trail made its way along the beautiiful Tahquamenon River.

Choosing to camp in the Upper Peninsula in Mid-September meant that we were able to witness the very beginnings of fall color showing in the foliage around us.

I’m not sure what Patronus actually enjoyed more, the cool mist coming off of the falls, or the fact that there were a lot of people around who wanted to pet him.

Probably our favorite part of camping at Tahquamenon Falls State Park was hiking along the River Trail.

The blue blazes painted on the trees indicate that you’re still on the North Country Trail.

The river trail was pretty much exactly what it sounds like.  It follows the Tahquamenon River from the Upper Falls to the Lower Falls.

If there’s one thing you’ll want to know about hiking the River Trail in Tahquamenon Falls State Park, it’s that there are a lot of tree roots and a lot of mud along the trail.

If you plan on visiting Tahquamenon Falls State Park and hiking on any of the nature trails aside from the viewing areas for the falls, we would highly recommend wearing good trail runners or hiking boots.  Trekking poles will also be a helpful tool if you have them!

Although the skies were clearing up, the sun was beginning to peek out from behind the clouds, and temperatures in the low 60s made for perfect hiking weather, Luke and I realized part way into the trail that we’d forgotten to pack our hiking snacks.

We hadn’t really planned to sit down for an actual meal again until later that evening.  Not wanting to get hangry, we decided to hike back to camp for lunch.

After snacking on Snickers bars and water, we drove over to check out the Upper Falls and do a little bit more hiking.

The viewing area for the upper falls had paved trails and made for an easy hike, however to get to some of the viewing platforms, there were A LOT of stairs involved.  I don’t remember the exact number, but it was somewhere around 100.

The sun began to shine much brighter while we were at the Upper Falls, illuminating the trees around us with a beautiful, golden cast.

Overall, Luke and I thought that the trails to the Upper Falls in Tahquamenon Falls State Park were mostly paved, more crowded, and a bit less interesting, but the falls themselves were much more majestic.

As we were making our way down one of the staircases, we met someone with another dog who was a bit scared to go down the steps.  Patronus managed to help coax him down, and the two of them got a chance to meet.

Did I mention that Patronus LOVES waterfalls?  Just look at that big, derpy grin!

After hiking around and checking out the falls for a little bit, Luke and I decided to drive over to Whitefish Bay.

Whitefish Point

The drive to Whitefish Point was only about half an hour, so once we finished our hike, we headed over to check out the beach and the lighthouse.

I’d visited both the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and Tahquamenon Falls back in May, however the weather was awful that day and I never got a chance to check out the beach, so this was all of our first time.

This was Patronus’ first time at a beach, and he loved it.

Luke took him down to the shore to walk and dodge the crashing waves.  All of his tiredness from our morning and afternoon hikes seemed to instantly melt away.

After that, I ran around in the sand with him.

Patronus got really riled up from all the running around and ended up knocking me over.  The two of us tumbled down into the sand laughing.

Well…at least I was laughing.  But I’m certain he was also laughing on the inside.

After taking some time to play around and take pictures, we decided to walk a little bit further down the beach.

Eventually it started getting late, so we decided to head back to Tahquamenon Falls State Park for dinner.

Tahquamenon Falls Brewery

We decided to have dinner at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery.

Luke ordered a steak with fries and beer cheese soup and the red ale, while I had the mushroom pesto with wild rice soup and the blueberry wheat.

After a big dinner and a lot of hiking, we were all pretty tired, so we headed back to our camp.

We built a fire and sat up talking until midnight.

North Country Trail

The next morning, after a quick breakfast of coffee and hot cereal, Luke and I decided to take Patronus and go do one more hike so we could investigate the section of the North Country Trail behind our campsite.

We were almost immediately met with a pretty steep climb.

The trail meandered a bit at the top of the hill before another steep climb down to a creek area.

We explored for a little bit, but decided to turn back after a little while since we still had to pack up and shower before checking out of our campsite.

Patronus loved putting his grabby mountain dog paws to use climbing up the steep sandy hills and root stairs.

After we got back to camp, it was time to shower and start packing up.  We headed out exactly at checkout time.

We stopped in Sault Ste Marie to visit family for a bit, then settled in for the long drive home.

Thanks for reading!

If you’d like to see more of our adventures, follow me on Instagram @kristyandpatronus.

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