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Welcome to Paradise flag

The two RV Gypsies at
Tahquamenon Falls
41382 West M-123
Paradise, Michigan 49768
June 22, 2013

Paradise is an unincorporated community in Whitefish Township, Chippewa County in the U.S. state of Michigan. Paradise is on the northeastern portion of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, on the western side of Whitefish Bay, Lake Superior, about 60 miles by road from Sault Ste. Marie and about 55 miles north of the Mackinac Bridge. Founded in 1925, Paradise is surrounded by state and national forests and its main business is tourism. It is considered one of two gateways to the Tahquamenon Falls area and Tahquamenon Falls State Park. (The other gateway is Newberry, about 40 miles to the southwest.) The area draws hunters, fishers, campers, backpackers, snowmobilers and birdwatchers. The region harvests blueberries and cranberries in season. Lake Superior shipping lanes are several miles off shore.

USA map showing location of Michiganmap of Michigan showing location of Paradise

The two RV Gypsies took a day trip to Tahquamenon Falls, "Michigan's Niagara" for a few peaceful and spectacular hours in nature's beauty. There are two waterfalls, the Upper Falls, and the Lower Falls. 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.

The Tahquamenon Falls are two different waterfalls on the Tahquamenon River. Both sets 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. The upper falls are more than 200 feet across and with a drop of approximately 48 feet. During the late spring runoff, the river drains as much as 50,000 US gallons 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, both in New York State. The two RV Gypsies had limited time at Tahquamenon Falls because they had a reservation for a boat tour of the Soo Locks, but they really enjoyed the falls.

entering Paradise sign

There is no agreed upon meaning of the word Tahquamenon (Tuh-qwa-muh-non). The most accepted meaning is "short cut." It has also been suggested that the word Tahquamenon may have come from the word Outakouaminan, which appears on an island on a 1671 Jesuit map.

The Tahquamenon is noted as being the land of Longfellow's The Song of Hiawatha; "by the rushing Tahquamenaw" where Hiawatha built his canoe. Tahquamenon Falls is also a song from Sufjan Stevens's album Michigan.

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.

Above quote from
Tahquamenon Falls State Park sign
Tahquamenon Falls Upper Falls sign

Tahquamenon Falls State Park has over 48,000 acres of natural lakes, forests and scenic areas, but is famous for the magnificent Upper Falls. At 200 feet wide and nearly 50 feet of vertical drop, it is the largest waterfall in Michigan and one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River.

94 steps to to falls

As usual, Lee Duquette went down the stairs backwards to save pressure on his knees.

Lee Duquette climbing the stairs at Tahquamenon Falls
some of the stairs at Tahquamenon Falls

Views of the Upper Falls from lookout areas before actually reaching the falls.

sign about the Tahquamenon River
first viiew of the Upper Tahquamenon Falls
sign about taming the Tahquamenon River
view of the Upper Tahquamenon Falls

Spring sends the Tahquamenon River rushing over the 500-million-year old sandstone ledge, creating a thunderous roar. The dark color in the spring is caused by tannins leached into the river from nearby trees and vegetation growing in the surrounding peat lands. Melting snow and spring rain can produce as much as 50,000 gallons of water per second going over the Upper Falls. Lack of rain and warmer temperatures cause the waterfall to slow down during the summer, and the water loses its dark coloration.

panorama of Tahquamenon Falls

The two RV Gypsies on separate areas of the bridge, photographing each other.

Lee Duquette at Tahquamenon Falls Upper
Karen Duquette at upper Tahquamenon Falls

The water, shaded brown by the tannin of the forest, crashed into the stream below, creating a sea of foam.

Tahquamenon Falls

the sea foam

The Upper Falls is the second largest falls in the U.S. EAST of the Mississippi River, second only to Niagara Falls.

Tahquamenon Falls

Tahquamenon Falls

The rushing water of the Tahquamenon River resumes its winding course to Whitefish Bay.

The rushing water of the Tahquamenon?River
divider bar

The LOWER FALLS are located four miles downstream (four miles east of the Upper Falls along M-123). The lower falls are 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 Lower Falls were easily viewed and photographed from the paved walkway.

Tahquamenon Falls Lower Falls sign

At the Lower Falls, two channels separate around a large island in the center of the stream. Rowboats can be rented. Unfortunately, the two RV Gypsies did not have the time to rent a rowboat, nor to walk closer to the falls, because they had a reservation to be elsewhere.

panorama of the Lower Tahquamenon Falls

Below: close up of the falls on the left
in photo above

Below: close up of the falls on the right
in photo above

the Lower Tahquamenon Falls
the Lower Tahquamenon Falls

Another view of the falls on the left

Another view of the falls on the right

Tahquamenon Falls
Tahquamenon Falls
Lower Tahquamenon Falls
Menu for the two RV Gypsies Adventures
in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
June 22, 2013

You may visit these three (3) sites in any order you choose.
The page you are on is grayed out and cannot be chosen.

Tahquamenon Falls - Upper and Lower in Paradise

Tower of History

Soo Locks

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go to the next adventure of the two RV GypsiesAFTER you have seen all three (3) sections above,
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Wawa, Silver Falls, and Magpie High Falls in Canada