Monday, August 14, 2017

Aug 14 – Lower and Upper Tahquamenon Falls

The Upper Falls of the Tahquamenon River are one of the largest falls east of the Mississippi. The Lower Falls is made up of a series of smaller and I think prettier ones.

Our campground is near the Lower Falls so we did a loop trail there and back.

 Tahquamenon Falls State Park Lower Falls Day Use Map - tq_lower_falls_day_use.pdf

There is an island in the river, which is the only place to get a close view of some of the falls. You can rent a row boat for $7 per person to get out there so we did (the blue line above).

Off we go through the forest. The mosquitos were pesky but not terrible as long as we had bug juice on.


This is our first view from #14 above. You can see the island in the middle with the two falls on either side.


The water is very red/brown from all the tannins produced by the bark of the Hemlock and decomposing trees. It also causes the water to be quite foamy with some interesting swirling patterns.


Off we go in our little boat.



We first did a loop and rowed over to the falls on the right but you can’t get very close as it gets shallow and the current is strong.


There are actually two falls here, separated by an very small island. The one on left can only really be seen well from the big island.


Heading to the island landing there were a lot more foamy patterns.


There was a short boardwalk over to the falls on the right (#1) in the map.


There is a wide cascade just below the falls.


The falls at #1 are a roaring narrow chute. They were the best of the day.





The photosphere.

When we got to the island there were only 3 other row boats so we had the falls to ourselves for a long time. It looked like a good place for lunch.



We couldn’t get a close look at the next falls from the #2 lookout but we did get a good look later.


The red colour showed up well in a zoom shot.


The view up river from the top of the island.


We no longer had it to ourselves.


Falls 3 and 4 were close enough for a single shot.


Again with the red.


Back to our boat. When we landed there with 3 other boats here. Now there were about 12 docked and more out in the bay.


We went around the bay on the boardwalk.


To viewpoint number 5 and the falls on the other side of the small island creating the first falls.



The photosphere.

You could only see a bit of our lunch spot from this side. We were glad we rented the boat to get out there.


On to viewpoint 6, the opposite side of 2.


A little more crowded but not too bad.


Our next stop was the Upper Falls. We could have taken the 4 mile, rated difficult, river side trail but for some reason we headed back to the RV to get the car and drive there.

On the trail back we saw this woodpecker. I forgot how large they are.


This place gets crowded, even on a weekday. The parking lot for the Upper Falls could easily hold around 200 cars and it was almost full.

Here is was just a short walk on a paved path down to the river gorge. There were a few viewpoints on the gorge edge and then you can climb 94 stairs down to the falls brink. After climbing back up, you could go downriver and climb back down 116 steps to a boardwalk for a view up the gorge to the falls.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park Upper Falls Day Use Map - tq_upper_falls_day_use.pdf

The views from up top were not that great.


That tree in the middle annoyed me so I photoshopped it out.


The brink view was better.

The Upper Falls are 50 feet tall and 200 feet across. The pictures don’t give a sense of the size.


A slightly more face on view.



Another photosphere.

We headed up, over and back down to the gorge viewpoint.



Here at least you can get some sense of scale, using the people on the viewing platform.


By now we were pretty tired. It was a long walk back along the boardwalk.


And up to the top of the gorge.


So our will power caved and it was off to the concession stand for something really bad (fries with pulled pork and cheese).


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