Journey on the Tahquamenon River – An adventure in Paradise we can all share
A Point North
Paradise, Michigan is mostly known for being the home of Tahquamenon Falls and the gateway to Whitefish Point and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Most visitors check these two major attractions out and then head off to other parts of the U.P. The one thing that is overlooked is the mighty Tahquamenon River itself.
The Tahquamenon cuts through the woods and rock defining the Paradise region. Millions of gallons of water pass along its shores and it was used extensively for logging during the lumber boom. Now it is ideal for a days adventure on the water.
At the mouth of the Tahquamenon River there is a state park that is mostly overlooked. Nestled on the banks of the Tahquamenon, this campground has excellent access to the river. Located 3 miles south of Paradise, this place can be the base to an adventure you will never forget.
The marina and dock at the Tahquamenon River Mouth Campground. Lake Superior can be seen on the horizon.
There is approximately 11 miles of river between the lower Tahquamenon Falls and the mouth of the river at Lake Superior. There are campgrounds at both ends of this stretch, besides the Tahquamenon Mouth campground, there is the Lower Falls Campground. The river is all big and wide water and the Public Access Marina at the mouth can accomodate small to medium craft with motors. My personal preference is paddling but I will admit when I did it, I was not alone and we had a small motor on a canoe for going upstream against the current.
Morning on the Tahquamenon River. It doesn’t get more perfect than this.
Around the mouth of the river, the river is wide and moves slow. There is large regions of wetlands and marshes. Wildlife abounds here and opportunities for photographers are frequent all year. There is also great fishing through here though anywhere on the river is good for that sport.
I shot a picture of this merganzer as it swam past our canoe.
The trip upstream can take some time against the current. Which is why I suggest having a campsite at both parks. The other option is that there is a paddlers launch at the Lower Falls Campground. This only works for kayaks and canoes. There is no launch here for larger craft. But from here you will be paddling with the current. Drop in here, paddle to the mouth and your waiting campsite in just a few hours.
Lower Tahquamenon Falls – North Fall – The lower falls are split by a small island and fall in two separate falls
It must be noted that when near the falls the water is turbulent and can be unpredictable. This can also be said if you choose to launch from here, be aware the water is swift and deep.
Lower Tahquamenon Falls – South Fall – Though these falls don’t have the size of the famous Upper Falls, they have their own unique beauty.
Though both of these campgrounds are public along with many acres along the river, but, there are many places along the river that is private and should be respected. I truly enjoyed my trip up and down the river. Many parts of the river have the look and feel of the deep primordial wilderness that once dominated the Upper Peninsula. It is easy to picture the Natives and the Voyageurs paddling the river when the lands were still undisturbed. There was a small trading post and settlement at the mouth of the river long ago. The Native Americans used the Tahquamenon as a main route for trading and travel. They portaged the falls.
Fishing the Tahquamenon offshore from the Mouth Campground
The Tahquamenon River is a nice low key adventure that most ages can enjoy. It should be mentioned that there are rental cabins at the Tahquamenon Mouth Campground and at the Lower Falls. I’ve rented these cabins and they are nice, worth every penny after a long day on the river. For more information on the area: http://www.paradisemichigan.org/
Eagle soaring over the Tahquamenon River.