One of Michigan’s true treasures, Tahquamenon Falls, has captivated visitors for generations. Whether you’re visiting to see leaves changing colors, the gushing spring runoff or to witness a winter wonderland in January, Tahquamenon is a must-see attraction. With unbeatable sights and sounds, the falls are one of the Eastern Upper Peninsula’s most popular destinations. However, do you know how to properly say the name of the Midwest’s largest set of waterfalls? It is pronounced “Tuh-KWAHM’-in-uhn.” Aside from pronunciation, here are seven things you may not have known about Tahquamenon Falls State Park.
1. It’s Michigan’s 2nd Largest State Park
The Tahquamenon Falls State Park encompasses a total of 46,179 acres of land making it Michigan’s second largest state park. It trails only the robust Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park’s 59,020 acres, but is more than four times as large as the Wolverine State’s third largest state park, Emmet County’s Wilderness State Park. There is so much for everyone to explore while visiting Tahquamenon Falls State Park.
2. Tahquamenon can be enjoyed year-round!
There are no off-seasons for the Tahquamenon Falls State Park. In fact, a lot of adventurers prefer to see this natural wonder in the winter. Grab your jacket, snow pants and snowshoes and explore the terrain. State park workers even supply a lantern-lit snowshoe path in the winter.
3. There’s Actually 2 Waterfalls
The more famous Upper Tahquamenon Falls is 200 feet across with a drop of almost 50 feet. The lower falls are about 4 miles downstream, and are, in fact, a series of five smaller falls around a small island. The Lower Falls can be a hidden gem when it comes to Tahquamenon Falls. Read on to learn how to get an even better view of the Lower Falls.
4. You Can Rent a Boat
You may have visited the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls, but did you know that you can rent a boat at the Lower Falls and row over to the islands in the middle of the river? This adventure enables you to hike even closer to the Lower Tahquamenon Falls and will allow you the opportunity of hopping in the refreshing water at your leisure. Once you arrive at the island, there is a great trail to hike with plenty of viewing areas.
Note: Boat rentals were not available in 2022 but will return in 2023.
5. It’s the 2nd Most Voluminous Waterfall in the Eastern US
In the peak of Spring runoff, the Upper Tahquamenon Falls has over 50,000 gallons of water rushing over the brink per second. This makes it the second most voluminous waterfall east of the Mississippi River in the United States, behind only Niagara Falls! The average flow during the year is closer to 7,000 gallons per second. Now that’s a lot of water.
6. Locals Call it “Root Beer Falls”
Did you know that the locals call Tahquamenon Falls the “Root Beer Falls?” They call it this because of the rich brown color of the waterfall and the white frothy foam as the water crashes down 48 feet, giving it the distinct look of root beer. The dark brown color in the water is nothing to worry about. This color originates from the tannins that leach from the cedar swamp at the start of the Tahquamenon River.
7. It only takes 94 steps to reach the best view
You might not think of walking “down” to a massive waterfall, but at the Upper Tahquamenon Falls, you have to walk down just 94 steps to reach the spectacular view. It is totally worth the steps you’ll have to take back up for the view! But don’t worry. If you don’t feel like walking the steps down to that view, there are plenty of places to get a great view!
While these facts are interesting, the best way to learn about the falls is to come experience Tahquamenon Falls State Park for yourself! When you make it to Paradise, Michigan to visit the Falls, don’t forget to share your fantastic photos of your experience with the hashtag #ilovethesoo on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok and Twitter so we can enjoy them, too!