Tahquamenon Falls is one of the Upper Peninsula’s greatest wonders. Nestled just 80 miles north of the Mackinac Bridge, the drive up—or down—to Tahquamenon Falls is one trimmed with endless breathtaking views of bays, lakes, and marshes, traced by sprawling forests bright with wild colors of which only Michigan can boast. With peak fall color hitting the U.P. during the first few weeks of October, you’ve finally got an excuse to make “someday” happen. Hike, paddle, and relax—your trip to Tahquamenon Falls will be one of the greatest adventures yet.

Also, make time to explore these Upper Peninsula waterfalls!

Hike Tahquamenon Falls

The 90-mile Tahquamenon River is edged by nearly 40 miles of hiking trails, leading to both the Upper and Lower Falls. The Upper Falls is a single, dizzying 50-foot drop-off at the crook of a scenic river bend, complete with vast Michigan skies and roaring waters. Just 4 miles down the path, you’ll find Tahquamenon’s Lower Falls—a set of five sprawling waterfalls backed by thick forest, bright with autumn’s vivid colors. Spend the afternoon exploring six hiking loops and trails, and enjoy a day surrounded by all the Michigan outdoors has to offer. Note, both Upper and Lower Falls have handicap accessible areas and viewing platforms.

Paddle Tahquamenon Falls

While Tahquamenon Falls’ hiking trails allow adventurers to move parallel to the river route, some may want to be on the water. Launch your kayaks and canoes at the Lower Falls and spend the day on the river. The current at the lower end of the river is serene and manageable for paddlers of all experience levels. Bring your own kayaks and canoes, or visit The Woods Tahquamenon River Canoe and Kayak for affordable rentals and guided river trips (open seven days a week May 13 thru mid-October, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Paddling the falls offers the opportunity to get up close and personal—a truly moving experience for any lover of adventure.

Drink Tahquamenon Falls … Well, Sort Of 

One of only a few U.P. beer hubs, Tahquamenon Falls Brewery can be found just minutes from the falls themselves. Top off a long day of hiking and paddling with an elaborate spread of Lake Superior whitefish, pasties, and freshly baked bread. The brewery features a full restaurant menu with lunch and dinner entrees, perfect for pairing with their rotating cast of beers like the Black Bear Stout or Porcupine Pale Ale. This hidden gem is a must for Michigan craft beer enthusiasts—as well as the hungry hiking partner.

Where to Kick Off Your Boots

We’ll make it easy for you. Here are three places to stay during your U.P. adventure.

Freighter’s View on the Bay: A destination in itself, this quaint motel is set on the shores of Lake Superior’s Whitefish Bay and boasts a genuine cabin feel, just miles from the falls.

Paradise Inn: Central to shopping and restaurants, as well as the falls themselves, this inn offers a cozy escape.

Magnuson Grand Lakefront: Wind down at the end of a long day with a stroll along the shores of Lake Superior—or just admire them from your balcony in this lovely U.P. hotel.

More Northern Michigan Outdoor Adventures

Photo(s) by Paul Lemke