Sunday, August 4, 2013

Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

We took US-23 out of Cheboygan today, then got on I-75 North to the Mackinac Bridge, the connector between MIchigan’s lower peninsula (the mitten) with the upper peninsula. From there we took Michigan 123 to Tahquamenon (pronounced Tuh-qwa-muh-non) Falls State Park in Paradise, Michigan.  Several people we’ve met since arriving in Michigan (including yesterday’s helpful campsite hosts) told us to visit this area.  So last night I got on line and reserved a campsite for two nights.  After arriving, we asked for and got another day. We could easily stay here a week and not see it all.

The park is big -- 50,000 acres with three campgrounds (Overlook, Riverbend and Rivermouth) with electric hook ups, plus several primitive (no electric) campgrounds  We’re in Rivermouth, the smallest of the three with electricity. Our campsite is a few hundred yards from the Tahquamenon River, which empties in Lake Superior only a half mile away.

A few things to see and do at Tahquamenon:

-- The Upper Tahquamenon Falls, which is 50 feet high, 200 feet wide and one of the biggest waterfalls east of the Mississippi 

-- Lower Tahquamenon Falls, five miles downstream from the Upper Falls.

-- The River Trail, or as the locals call it “the trail between da falls.”  The campground newspaper says it’s five miles long and one of the more difficult in the park because of “exposed roots and hilly terrain.”  

-- Whitefish Bay, where the mouth of Tahquamenon River meets Lake Superior.

-- Clark Lake, a remote inland lake in the nearby wilderness area.

-- Padding on the Tahquamenon River, which has a reddish tint because its located in a wetland rich in hemlock, spruce and cedar trees and the tannins color the water.  

I’m not sure how many of those we can fit in.  Kayaking and a visit to the falls for sure.  We’d also like to get a day trip in to Sault Ste Marie about 50 miles east of here to see the Soo Locks, but that might be wishful thinking.

Today at Tahquamenon we checked in at the park office, filled our rig with potable water (none of the state parks we’ve been to so far in Michigan have water or sewer hook ups at the sites), got settled into our site, checked out our campground and two more rustic ones near ours (where we ran into someone who recognized Cooper as being in Cheboygan yesterday), and checked out the river access areas for kayaking.
The beginning of the Mackinac Bridge, which connects Michigan's mitten with the upper peninsula.  A website says Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere.  I told Jim it seems like every time we cross a suspension bridge someone claims that bridge is the longest.  Per the website, the total bridge is five miles long and the suspended part is 8,614 feet long. The charge to cross the bridge for our motor home and tow car was $14.
Notice all the clouds in the photo of the Mackinac Bridge?  This is what the sky looked like on Michigan Highway 123,  just before we arrived at Tahquamenon Falls State Park.  
Bev with the rig and tow car at our campsite.

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