If a road trip across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is on your bucket list, consider Tahquamenon Falls as one of many noteworthy places to stop.
On a gloomy Saturday in late May, my friends and I made our way to Tahquamenon Falls State Park to enjoy some camping, hiking, and a good meal before setting out on our backpacking trip of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
The forecast called for pouring rain and cold weather, so we made quick work of getting our camp set up as soon as we arrived and checked in to the campground.
The rain began shortly after we made camp and remained pretty relentless after that, so we decided to check out Tahquamenon Falls Brewery.
The atmosphere inside the brewery was cozy, and the service was very friendly. I tried the wild rice soup, spicy cheese curds, and mushroom pesto, all vegetarian options, and all of which were rather delicious. The beer options were pretty limited, as they only offered four varieties, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Everyone was pretty tired after a big meal, so we decided to turn in early and spend the rest of the night hanging out in the tent. We sat up reading and talking until we fell asleep.
It was pouring rain when we began our hike the next morning.
We had originally hoped to hike the section of North Country Trail that spans from the Tahquamenon Falls Upper Falls to the Lower Falls, but unfortunately the trail was closed due to washout from high water levels.
Due to the weather and the washout, we decided to check out as much of the area near the main viewing areas as we could, visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, then make our way to Munising to have dinner, relax, and get ready for our backpacking adventure.
We began our hike at the lower falls, near our campground.
Most of the viewing area near the lower falls followed a wooden walkway along the river.
Thanks to the cool, rainy weather, the air was fragrant with the scent of wet pine trees.
The viewing platform extended outward over the river, so it was easy to get a close up view of some of the falls.
After spending a bit of time enjoying the views in the pouring rain, we made our way back to the parking lot and drove over to the viewing area for the Upper Falls.
After a short and easy 0.3 mile hike from the parking lot, the Upper Falls were visible from an overlook point.
A little further down the trail, we came to a huge, wet staircse. According to the sign, it contained 94 steps.
At the bottom of the staircase was another viewing platform with a very up close and personal view of the lower falls.
I stood on the viewing platform with the root beer colored water of the Tahquamenon River rushing by just beneath my feet, roaring down into the frothy waters below. I bet if they put an A&W in somewhere near the park, it would make a killing.
This was my favorite part of Tahquamenon Falls.
We made our way back up the 94 steps and over to the other side to check out the views over there.
All in all, we enjoyed the park quite a bit. The campground was well cared for, the sights were beautiful, there were enough trails within the falls area to keep me entertained for a couple days, and of course we enjoyed dinner at the brewery as well! Although the 35 degree rainy weather left something to be desired, it did keep the number of other hikers at bay.
Would I go back? Yep!
Hike Planning Details
Trail Map: Michigan DNR
Hike Distance: Varies, Multiple Trails
Dog Friendly: Yes