While I was camping in the Upper Peninsula last week I got to roam around several waterfalls. I’d been to all of them in years past, and if you’re a long time reader you’ve probably seen them all. But come along with me anyway, you deserve a short break and waterfalls are fun.
The biggest waterfalls in Michigan are near Newberry in the Upper Peninsula. Tahquamen Falls are a big tourist attraction, there’s a state park campground there, and a few hotels in neighboring towns. I just drove over from my campsite down at St. Ignance.
The upper falls are the highest. Notice the red tint to some of the water? That’s tannin from the cedar trees growing along the banks of the river. Sometimes the whole thing looks like frothy rootbeer. You can walk down a lot of stairs to see it from river level.
Of course I did.
On the way back up I stopped to take this picture of the rocky walls the river has cut away over hundreds of years. Don’t tell anyone, but taking pictures is a good way to rest when you’re having trouble breathing on your way up a whole lot of stairs.
Then you can take more stairs down to the brink of the falls.
It’s important to take these stairs down so you can get a good, closeup look.
Even if your knees and back are protesting.
Then you can walk the four miles through the woods to the lower falls. Not many people do that, as the trail is quite rustic. I drove. Those stairs were plenty of exercise for me.
When you get to the lower falls you walk along a boardwalk back to get a good view of the falls.
Some years, when there’s less water kids play in them. But not this year! The noise and spray were pretty intense.
You can rent a rowboat and paddle over to an island where it’s safe to play in the water. As I was taking pictures I heard the thunder of a storm coming in. The people working at the rowboat station were calling everyone to come back, to get off the water. Everyone did but one young lady who was having trouble paddling in a straight line.
I enjoyed Tahquamen Falls, though I lost my phone somewhere there. I don’t remember putting it down anywhere, the last thing I remember doing was taking a picture at the bottom of the first set of stairs. Once back at the car I realized I didn’t have it and I traced my path again, all those stairs included, but never found it.
I learned there are ways to survive without a phone, and continued on my trip, heading north and camping at Hurricane River. From there I explored a few waterfalls, the first being Sable Falls, just a few miles from the campground.
Guess what? There were stairs, even more stairs than at Tahquamen!
But it was worth it! No one was there but a fisherman who was further down the river. I set up the tripod and had fun working on smoothing out that flowing water.
But I forgot to carry down my remote shutter release. So after I shot a few images by physically touching the shutter, and worried that I might have moved the camera doing that, I climbed back up the stairs to my car, grabbed the shutter release and clomped back down.
To be honest, I don’t know which of these pictures used the shutter release and which might have been just me and my finger. It didn’t make any difference, but you never know. It was worth the extra steps to me.
Then I drove over to Munising which has several falls. I visited Wagner Falls which has a small parking lot and a short walk back to the falls along a boardwalk…
..where along the way you can hear the water flowing over the falls hidden by the trees.
I can’t decide which image I like better of this falls, so I’ll show you both.
Then I drove into town and visited Munising Falls. There’s a visitor center there with information about the area, and a very short level walk back to the falls.
Both Wagner and Munising falls are easy walks from the parking lots. I recommend you visit them yourselves if you’re ever up there!
Last time I was up in that part of the woods (literally woods!) my husband and I walked the mile back to Miners Falls in the snow.
This year it was getting dark and the bugs were bad, so I didn’t. Plus, have I mentioned tourists? I hadn’t been in the UP (Upper Peninsalia) in tourist season in years. I’d forgotten about all those darn tourists everywhere!
I did drive out to see Miner’s Castle, a rock formation that you shouldn’t miss, and you get this vantage point from very near the parking lot. You can also walk down to see it closer. But did I mention tourists?
So those are the waterfalls I had the opportunity to visit this trip. I hope you enjoyed them, it was nice to have company on all those stairs…and while I was running from the black flies!
Next up, maybe I’ll show you lighthouses….or maybe it will just be other pretty things. I have to hurry up or I’ll be talking about this camping trip the rest of the summer!
Guess that wouldn’t be so bad though.