August 11, 2011 – When I was planning my summer of 2011 RVing around Michigan, one of the most frequent “must-sees” I was told about the waterfalls at Tahquamenon Falls State Park. But it wasn’t the “dry” stats of it being the largest waterfall east of the Mississippi and second in size to Niagara that sold me – I wanted to see the tannin tinted water for myself and see why these falls are also called “Root Beer Falls.”
Per the DNR website, “the amber color of the water is caused by tannins leached from the Cedar, Spruce and Hemlock in the swamps drained by the river. The extremely soft water churned by the action of the falls causes the large amounts of foam, which has been the trademark of the Tahquamenon since the days of the voyager.”
Nice paved trails start the walk…but to get to the end of the Falls Brink viewing area, it takes 94 steps to get to the platform at the end. In the other direction, to get to the Falls Gorge viewing area, it takes 116 steps to see it from the bottom. My knees were none too happy with my decision to do all those steps, but my eyes sure were!
This is where I saw the falls from the top…
…and watched the foaming water continue its journey downstream.
This is the bottom view of the Falls from the Gorge. I enjoyed sitting here a while and soaking it all in.
Zooming in to the falls, here to the right you can also see people on the Falls Brink viewing platform.
Back at the beginning of the trail, you can relax on the large deck with a snack or check out the gift shops and restaurant. This area was originally a logging camp, so the building is a replica of the original camp.
I opted for a micro brew of Harvest Wheat Ale and beer battered fries at The Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub – a perfect end to a perfect day at Tahquamenon Falls! At the beginning of the trail, the info shack had a sign to let people know that “Tahquamenon” rhymes with “phenomenon” – so appropriate in every way!
All Tahquamenon State Park Pages:
There is no campground at the Upper Falls and they are located about 4 miles upstream from the Lower Falls.
I'd love to hear your own experiences about places I've been - and what you think are "must-sees" - and I really value any suggestions and feedback from readers, so please let me have your 2 cents in Comments below: