Lower Tahquamenon Falls – A Rowboat Adventure at Tahquamenon Falls State Park
While the Upper Falls at Tahquamenon Falls State Park get a lot of the glory, the numerous drops that make up the Lower Tahquamenon Falls offer visitors the chance for a unique experience – renting a rowboat and traveling to the island that the falls surround for a short hike. For just a small fee, these boats can be rented and paddled through the calm waters below the falls to a dock on the island where a short loop trail begins.
To give an idea how much closer you can get to the falls via rowboat, the picture above is a zoomed-in view from the viewing area near the parking lot where the walking trail starts. The rest of the pictures featured are from the hiking trail that surrounds the island.
Heading to the left when the trail splits on the island quickly brings you yo one of the most impressive drops – a two-tiered drop that is close to 20 feet in total. There are chances to get right up next to the river’s edge here, so use appropriate caution when trying to get that perfect picture.
The trail continues around to the back of the island, with no major drops between the first set and this small set of rapids shown below:
The trail continues around the island and curves back towards where it began, and within a few minutes the sounds of rushing water return. A view of a small drop through the trees hints at better things coming up, and also showcase the copper color the water here is known for as a result of tannins.
The final drop is around eight feet, and gives the best chance for a close-up. There are multiple ways to view this drop, and visitors are often seen kicking off their shoes and exploring on the rocks here.
The trail around the island can be hiked in 30 minutes with minimal stops for photography, but is best enjoyed by taking anywhere from an hour to half a day to really soak in the incredible setting. Expect this to be a very busy area in the summer. A walking trail leads to the falls from the parking lot and offers views from several wooden platforms, and also is part of the River Trail that spans the four miles between here and the Upper Falls. The campground at Lower Falls has nearly 200 campsites and modern facilities. The entrance to Upper Falls is five miles to the west on M-123.
Directions: The Lower Falls and Campground can be reached by taking M-123 west of Paradise for about 10 miles. It is a well-signed route with many other attractions like the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, Upper Falls, Whitefish Point Bird Observatory and Brown Fisheries Fish House.