Lower Falls Trail, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Michigan

Paradise, MI
Length: 1.00 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

ACTIVITIES: Hiking, snowshoeing


OUT AND BACK OR LOOP: Out and back

DIFFICULTY OF TERRAIN: Easy–moderate, paved


PARKING FEE/PASS: $11 Michigan parks fee /$9 daily for nonresidents




DOGS ALLOWED: Yes, leashed. Dogs may not be left unattended.




POTENTIAL CHILD OR BABY HAZARDS: Mosquitoes, black flies, horseflies

GEAR SUGGESTIONS: Snowshoes in the winter

What toddler doesn’t love a good waterfall? Located in the middle of 50,000 acres, there are two falls to view in this park. Upper Falls is more talked about as it’s one of the largest falls east of the Mississippi. Originally home to the Chippewa
Indians, who camped, farmed, fished, and trapped along its banks, this park has 25 miles of trails for visitors to explore.

We chose the Lower Falls to mention here (although both Lower and Upper are easy to visit) because of the ease of the hike for little legs. Lower Tahquamenon Falls is located 4 miles east of the Upper Falls along M-123. There’s a paved walkway and a 0.5-mile walk through a thick forest, which ends up at a viewing platform. You’ll appreciate the mist from the falls on a warm summer day; and if
you keep walking, you’ll find access to the river so you can splash a bit. Map of the area is available on the Michigan Department of Resources Website.

When you are there, you might hear people refer to the falls as “Root Beer Falls” because of the brown color and frothy appearance. The brown, interestingly, is not from minerals in the water or pounding of mud at the bottom, but from tannin leached from the cedars, spruces, and hemlocks in the swamps drained by the river.

Mosquitoes are very present on this trail much of the year (not in the dead of winter, of course), so you will want to keep yourself thoroughly coated with bug spray. If camping, consider getting a bug lamp of sorts, like a Thermacell, to ward bugs off your campsite. It’s also good to have a net tent over the kitchen and eating areas. Spring is the least buggy time if you want to get the sunnier weather.

There is a boardwalk surrounding the falls, which is fairly safe, but make sure to keep an eye on your little walkers. The trail from Hemlock to Lower Falls isn’t overtly technical, but there are some small drops, so watch little ones around this area. Hiking boots are suggested on this trail as well, since there is some uneven ground, but it is doable in runners. As for sun, the hike is very wooded, so there’s not a ton of exposure. Keep your eyes open for the moose that live in the park, the occasional black bears, coyotes, otters, deer, foxes, porcupines, beavers, and minks to name a few of the animals living in the park. Birds are aplenty with bald eagles high above, spruce grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, pileated woodpeckers, and a variety of waterfowl and songbirds.

Visit this spot in winter, and you can borrow a free pair of snowshoes or take part in a guided afternoon snowshoe hike. There is a 1-mile lantern-lit snowshoe trail and cross-country ski trails to enjoy in the winter. Viewing a waterfall in the winter is a whole different experience from the summer splash. Warm up by the bonfire, and complete your visit with a trip to the Tahquamenon Brewery and Pub, which is open all winter.

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Paved
Elevation gain 1 ft.
Stroller friendly Yes
ADA accessible No
Water fountains Yes
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store Yes
Camping Nearby Yes
Emergency support
within 5 miles

Trail highlights

Boardwalk, Camping Nearby, Creek / River, Ranger Led Hikes, Viewpoint, Visitor Center, Waterfall, and Wildlife Viewing

“This was a great hike to take from our campground to the Lower Falls area. This was the perfect little adventure as the terrain wasn’t perfect but decent for little walkers and we had a fun destination to visit the falls. The Lower Falls itself was spectacular, and we had fun walking along the boardwalk to view the two sections.” —JESSICA FEATHERSTONE

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $0.00

$11 Michigan parks fee /$9 daily for nonresidents

Trail Contributor

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.


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