From Grand Marais, we could go back out to M-28 and take the long way to Tahquamenon Falls, or we could take a shortcut on a couple of back country roads.
We opted for the adventure of the back country roads!
Some of us enjoyed the drive and the beauty of the scenery, but others just complained about the long drive on a dusty road!! We only made one wrong turn, resulting in 3 miles of back-tracking . . . you would have thought we went a hundred miles out of our way!
It was a cooler day, but with sunny blue skies, it was a perfect day for exploring the falls.
We finally arrived at Tahquamenon Falls State Park, the Upper Falls,
(my Grandma’s picture, from 1960)
and found a table in the sun for our lunch.
After lunch, we followed the paved trail along the Tahquamenon River to the Upper Falls overlooks.
We followed the trail to “The Brink”, and soon the magnificent Upper Falls came into view.
Thanks to all the snow that Michigan had this past winter, the falls were flowing really well. It was a similar situation when my Grandma was here in 1960,
but quite a bit different when my brother, Don, was here in 2007 – a lot less water!
From there, we followed the trail along the river again, down 116 stairs (it seemed like a lot more than that!),
to the Gorge Overlook, which provides a river-level view of the Upper Falls.
There is a trail that follows the river from the Upper Falls to the Lower Falls, and there is even a shuttle service that will take hikers back to their cars (for $19/person), but we opted to just drive the 4 miles down to the lower falls.
Once again, a short hike too us to the overlooks of the falls.
The Lower Falls are actually a series of 5 waterfalls that surround an island in the center of the river. These falls are a lot smaller and calmer than the upper falls (at least on the left side of the river), and people can rent canoes and rowboats to take over to the island, and there were even people walking in the water around the falls.
To the left of the island, it looks pretty peaceful, but on the right side, the rapids were still flowing pretty well!
By the time we left Tahquamenon Falls, we were pretty close to the little town of Paradise, and Whitefish Point, so we decided to continue on along M-123.
We reached Whitefish Point, and got out to look around.
Whitefish Point is the northeastern point of the UP, and it’s where Lake Superior meets the St. Mary River. The water there is often very rough, and it has been the site of many shipwrecks.
The historic buildings are all part of the Shipwreck Museum, so admission is charged to enter them. One ticket gets you into everything, and the prices is actually not too bad, but my non-history buffs were not interested, so we just walked around the grounds for a few minutes.
It wasn’t warm enough to be in the water, but there were a few people on the beach.
It was a nice day, but we were ready to head back to the Campground for dinner . . . and we didn’t take the shortcut this time!