Michigan’s Best Kept Secret | Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Made up of more than 50,000 acres Tahquamenon Falls Michigan State Park is famous for its copper-colored waterfalls. The park has 17 miles of hiking trails around the Tahquamenon River, but the most popular attraction of the park is the Upper Falls. At over 200’ across and with a 50′ drop, the Upper Falls is the second-largest waterfall east of the Mississippi River.
The beautiful rust-colored falls get their color from leached tannins of the cedar swamps which the river drains. Explore the park, do some hiking, and stop at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery and Pub for some food & locally made beer.
The state park sign picture we took turned out really blurry, but we only had one shot before my camera died so this is what we get for not following the one most important travel rule – ALWAYS have extra charged batteries on hand!
Here’s all you need to know before visiting Tahquamenon Falls State Park!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Tahquamenon falls directions
From Detroit take I75 north until you pass over the Mackinac Bridge into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Continue through St. Ignace on 75 in the left lane. Take exit 352 onto M-123 N toward Newberry, and follow until you reach than take a left onto W South River Rd until you arrive at the park. The drive takes around 5 hours.
Mackinac Bridge Toll Fees
Passenger Vehicle – $2.00 per axle or $4.00 per car: Passenger car, van, motorcycle, station wagon, SUV, pick-up truck, and school bus. (A van is a two-axle four-tire vehicle not primarily intended for carrying cargo or commercial goods.)
- Location: 41382 W M-123 Paradise, Michigan, 49768 USA
- Phone: (248) 492-3415
How much does it cost to visit Tahquamenon Falls?
Permits & Recreation Passport
Michigan Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry into state parks and recreation areas, state boat launches, state forest campgrounds, and state trail parking lots. The Michigan Recreation Passport does not cover local, county, municipal, or metropolitan parks or recreation areas.
If you don’t have a recreation passport, or you’re from out of state, for Michigan residents the annual pass is around $17 when purchased at a state park and for out-of-state residents, it’s around $34.
Tahquamenon Falls Campgrounds
The sites run $35-40 per night if you want the electric hookup and running water bathrooms with showers.
Lower Falls campground
The Hemlock Campground is located about 1 mile from the Lower Falls. The lower falls campgrounds come equipped with showers and flush toilets. You’ll also find porta-potties (latrine) (no flush) toilets closer to your campsite. Throughout the campground, there are faucets to fill up your drinking water or use it to wash dishes, etc.
NOTE: do NOT wash your dishes at the tap. There’s also a garbage dumpster and RV dump site for campers.
The Hemlock campground is located near the lower falls with over 180 sites for tent, trailer, and RV camping. The sites can accommodate equipment up to 50 feet in length and come with electric hookups, picnic tables, and fire pits. There are also restrooms, showers, and drinking water available in the campground area. The Hemlock Campground is located about 1 mile from the Lower Falls.
The Portage Campground is near the river and is located 1/4 mile from the Lower Falls. There’s a trail that connects the Portage Campground to the Lower Falls parking area.
And separately, there is another campground in the state park with modern, semi-modern, and rustic campsites that is located towards Lake Superior (Rivermouth Campground). It’s possible to get a riverfront campsite at the Rivermouth Campground, camping right on the Tahquamenon River.
The pines are all rustic non-electric sites with no showers or flush toilets. The campground has 36 sites of which half are located on the river. There are vault toilets, dumpsters, and water faucets spread throughout the campground.
How to MAke camping Reservations
Visit the Michigan State Park Campground Reservations website. Select Tahquamenon Falls State Park and then choose which campground has available for your dates (the bubble will be green if the area is available.) You can see the individual campsites if you click them and they’ll show you a small description of the site, like whether it’s a riverfront campsite, on a slope, shaded or sunny, etc.
Restaurants near Tahquamenon falls
Down the road from the Lower Falls entrance of the park, there’s a convenience store and gas station where you can buy ice or get snacks. If you decide to have a campfire please purchase the wood locally to avoid invasive species that can travel on the wood. The park charges around $5 a bundle, so just get your wood there. 🙂 You might also like to try out the local Brewery & Pub.
Best Things to do
Canoe to the River Island
Rent a canoe and row yourself to the river island or you can take the boat “shuttle” across the river. Canoeing takes just around 5 minutes to get to the island. Once you’re there hike the .5-mile loop trail around the island. So you might want to give yourself a couple of hours for this trip depending on how much time you want to spend on the island, in the river, and at the waterfalls!
Canoe the 17 river miles from the lower falls to Lake Superior.
Walk to the brink of the Upper Tahquamenon Falls.
Tahquamenon falls Hiking trails
Moderate Rated Trails
- Tahquamenon Falls Upper and Lower and Clark Lake – 13.4 miles | 4h 54m
- Clark Lake Loop – 5.1 miles | 1h 50m
- Clark Lake to Hwy 123 – 6.5 miles | 2h 22m
- Wilderness Loop – 9.5 miles – 3h 32m
- North Country Trail: Tahquamenon Falls – 19.6 miles | 7h 7m
- Clark Lake to Tahquamenon Falls – 8.6 miles – 3 hours
Easy Rated Trails
- Paradise Pathway – 1.7 miles | 37m
- Paradise Pathway North Loop – 3.2 miles | 1h 9m
- Lower Falls – 2.6 miles | 1 hour
Hike the Giant Pines Trail. It’s a 4-mile hiking loop that starts and ends at the Upper Falls. The trail passes through mature hardwoods, some beautiful stands of hemlock, and two enormous white pine trees that the trail is named for.
Things to do near Tahquamenon Falls
Central Upper Peninsula Things to Do
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