Among the many offerings of Paradise, the attractions of Tahquamenon Falls State Park are some of the most popular. It’s easy to understand why. In the heart of the second largest Michigan state park, the 90 mile long Tahquamenon River rushes over a 50 foot drop at the magnificent Upper Tahquamenon Falls. Four miles downstream, a series of five smaller drops make up the majestic Lower Tahquamenon Falls, carrying the river farther downstream before emptying into Lake Superior at the rivermouth. The sights and sounds of the Tahquamenon River, its historic and breathtaking Michigan waterfalls, the tranquility of the wilderness, and the many park trails affording numerous recreational opportunities all contribute to our guests’ enjoyment of their time in Tahquamenon Falls State Park. We think they will be a memorable part of your experience too!
The Upper Tahquamenon Falls is the second largest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. Up to 50,000 gallons of water per second are propelled 50 feet down into the river below, sustaining a thunderous roar in the heart of an otherwise peaceful Michigan state park. In winter, the power of the falls is halted, frozen and preserved in the breathtaking beauty of crystalized water columns.
A half mile paved pathway guides visitors directly from the parking lot to the Upper Falls through a forest of American Beech, Sugar Maple, Eastern Hemlock, and Yellow Birch. Viewing areas perfect for taking photos of this Michigan waterfall are found at the top, middle, and base of the falls and are connected by staircases.
After your hike to the Upper Tahquamenon Falls, return and enjoy a delicious meal at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery. If a picnic is more to your liking, stop to rest and enjoy a meal from home at one of the picnic tables provided near the beginning of the trail.
The Upper Tahquamenon Falls are handicapped accessible, with accommodated viewing platforms located near the top of the falls and restrooms at the trail head.
A set of 5 drop-offs lying beneath the rushing water of the Tahquamenon River, the Lower Tahquamenon Falls, another of the many beautiful Michigan waterfalls, is found just 4 miles downstream from the Upper Tahquamenon Falls. A quarter mile pathway will lead you to a viewing platform of the falls.
An accessible island immediately downstream presents another unique view of the falls for onlookers and photographers. Rowboats can be rented from the park concession at the Lower Falls. Renters are invited to paddle for a closer look and to explore the island!
Where the Tahquamenon River flows into the waters of Whitefish Bay, the Tahquamenon Rivermouth welcomes you to stay as long as you’d like. Walk the sandy shores of Whitefish Bay and feel the cool water against your feet. Paddle along the Tahquamenon Rivermouth and across the shallow waters on the shores of Lake Superior, embarking on the 1 mile journey to Marsh Island to explore its many coves and inlets. On land, explore the 1 mile route of the Emerson Trail, enjoying the sounds of songbirds often heard along the way. Take advantage of the many fishing opportunities available along the rivermouth, with walleye, pike, smallmouth bass, rock bass, and perch popular to the area.
For accommodations on the rivermouth, The Rivermouth Campground is open year round, offering 136 modern and rustic camping units for visitors to spend the night. A boat launch is also available on site.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park welcomes you to discover the wonders it has hidden through the pure and pristine wilderness along its many recreational trails. Tahquamenon Falls State Park features trails of various difficulties, offering UP hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and skiing adventures for both the curious family and the experienced outdoor enthusiast! Whichever trails you choose to travel, be sure to bring along plenty of water, a snack, bug spray during the summertime, and warm clothing during the wintertime.
Clark Lake Loop – 5.2 miles: Trail accessed from Clark Lake Road, 11 miles southwest of Paradise. Complete the journey to Clark Lake, the perfect spot for a picnic or snack on the bordering sand dunes. The trail is not groomed during winter and presents excellent opportunities for backcountry skiing. (Hike, snowshoe, ski icons)
River Trail – 4.8 miles: The trail between the Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls. The view of the flowing Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls during the summertime and frozen falls during the wintertime highlight this journey. The River Trail is considered the most scenic trail in the park. Moderate to difficult due to exposed roots, staircases and hills. (Hike, snowshoe icons)
Emerson Trail – 1 mile: Located near the Rivermouth Campground on the Tahquamenon River. An excellent trail choice for those traveling near the Tahquamenon Rivermouth. The last 200 feet of the trail leading to Whitefish Bay remains incomplete, and is difficult, but possible to navigate. For birding enthusiasts, the trail presents opportunities to see and hear songbirds. (Hike, bike, snowshoe icons)
Nature Trail – .5 miles: Carpeted with ferns during the summer months, this trail offers visitors an alternative route on their journey from the Upper Tahquamenon Falls to the parking lot and is featured on the lantern lit snowshoe tours to the Upper falls during February. Birding enthusiasts often have sightings on this trail during the spring. The trail is groomed during the winter. Strollers and wheelchairs are welcome. Rated easy. (Hike, snowshoe, ski icons)
Wilderness Loop – 7.4 miles: Leads through the most remote areas of the park among old hemlock forests and peatland areas. The trail features a beaver pond and dam on the loop’s eastern portion. As ferns grow taller in mid-summer, the trail becomes increasingly difficult to follow. It is recommended for advanced hikers only. The trail is not groomed during winter and presents opportunities for backcountry skiing. (hike, snowshoe, ski icons)
Giant Pines Loop – 3.8 miles: This loop offers travelers the sights and sounds of ancient hemlocks, bubbling streams, and active woodpeckers. The highlights of the trail are two giant white pine trees left over from the late 1800’s logging era. The trail is groomed during the winter. (hike, snowshoe, ski icons)
Leashed dogs are welcome on these Tahquamenon Falls State Park trails during the summer and on non-groomed trails during the winter!
Visit the Michigan DNR Website or call 906 492-3415 for trail maps and additional information.
The Tahquamenon River travels 90 miles across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula before emptying into Lake Superior near Paradise and is a must see for visitors to the region! There is certainly no shortage of opportunities to explore the Tahquamenon River. Hiking trails follow the river route and give travelers an opportunity to parallel the water, getting an incredible view of the Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls. Anglers are welcome to cast their lines along the shore or from their boats within the river. Trout can be caught in the rapids above the lower falls.
Paddlers enjoy floating along the weak current of the river waters. Put in your canoe or kayak at the Lower Falls and begin exploring. Follow the path of the river or paddle upstream, it’s easy to move against the current! The full journey from the lower falls to the Rivermouth Campground is another option, but is recommended for experienced paddlers only as the trip takes about 6 hours to complete and opportunities to take your boat ashore are infrequent. Kingfishers, songbirds, geese, ducks, and possibly even a beaver or river otter may be spotted along the way!
Interested in traveling on the Tahquamenon River but don’t have your own paddle boat? Contact these rental outlets to reserve one today!
Tahquamenon General Store Canoe & Kayak Rentals
39991 W. Highway 123
Paradise, MI 49768
The Woods Tahquamenon River Canoe & Kayak Rental
Corner of M-123 and Fordney Tower Road
Visitors interested in exploring the island near the Lower Tahquamenon Falls can rent a rowboat from the Tahquamenon Falls State Park concession located at the lower falls.