Tahquamenon Falls

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Tahquamenon Falls
Tahquamenon falls upper.jpg
The Upper Tahquamenon Falls
Tahquamenon Falls is located in Michigan
Tahquamenon Falls
Location within the state of Michigan
LocationTahquamenon Falls State Park, Luce County, Michigan
Coordinates46°34′26.4″N 85°15′21.6″W / 46.574000°N 85.256000°W / 46.574000; -85.256000 (Upper Tahquamenon Falls)Coordinates: 46°34′26.4″N 85°15′21.6″W / 46.574000°N 85.256000°W / 46.574000; -85.256000 (Upper Tahquamenon Falls)
Total height48 feet (15 m)
Number of drops77
WatercourseTahquamenon River
flow rate
7,000 gallons per second
(average annual mean)

The Tahquamenon Falls (/təˈkwɑːmnɑːn/ tuh-KWAH-mee-nahn or /təˈkwɑːmənən/ tuh-KWAH-muh-nuhn) are two different waterfalls on the Tahquamenon River. Both are located near Lake Superior in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The water is notably brown in color from the tannins leached from the cedar swamps which the river drains. Consequently, the upper falls is nicknamed, "The Root Beer Falls".[2]

The upper falls is more than 200 feet (60 m) across with a drop of approximately 48 feet (14 m). During the late spring runoff, the river drains as much as 50,000 US gallons (190,000 L) of water per second, making the upper falls the third most voluminous vertical waterfall east of the Mississippi River, after Niagara Falls and Cohoes Falls. Cohoes Falls is located in New York State, whereas Niagara Falls is located on the US-Canadian border, between the Province of Ontario and the State of New York.

The lower falls, located four miles (6.5 km) downstream, is a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island which can be reached by rowboat. A hiking trail runs between the falls along the riverside, and visitors often play in the lower falls during the summer heat.

The falls are within Tahquamenon Falls State Park, between Newberry, Michigan, and Paradise, Michigan. They are a popular tourist destination in the Upper Peninsula during all seasons. Snowmobile trails lead almost to the falls, and walkways are kept clear for most of the winter.

While the name Tahquamenon is now primarily associated with the falls, it appears to have originally designated an island in Whitefish Bay: Tahquamenon Island. The first written record of the name appears as "Outakouaminan" in a 1671 French map.[3]

The upper falls is located at 46°34′29″N 85°15′23″W / 46.57472°N 85.25639°W / 46.57472; -85.25639, and the lower falls is at 46°36′12″N 85°12′25″W / 46.60333°N 85.20694°W / 46.60333; -85.20694

In popular culture[edit]

The Tahquamenon is noted as being the land of Longfellow's The Song of Hiawatha, which contains the line: "by the rushing Tahquamenaw", where Hiawatha built his canoe. Additionally, "Tahquamenon Falls" is a song from Sufjan Stevens' album Michigan. The upper falls are visited in an episode of the Adult Swim series Joe Pera Talks with You.

Photo gallery[edit]


  1. ^ "mi.water.usgs.gov". usgs.gov.
  2. ^ King, Dominique (September 11, 2014). "Michigan's Tahquamenon State Park and 'The Root Beer Falls'". midwestguest.com.
  3. ^ "Origins of the Name: Tahquamenon Is it just a name or a glimpse into the past?" (PDF). Michigandnr.com. Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

External links[edit]