Lower Tahquamenon Falls prep for quiet winter recreation
NEWBERRY — Tahquamenon Falls State Park will provide an improved area at the Lower Falls for quiet recreation beginning this winter. Enhancements include an enlarged plowed parking area, trailhead, marked snowshoe trails and dog sled rides.
“We have seen an increased interest in snowshoeing, hiking, photography and winter camping over the last few years,” said Craig Krepps, park manager.” Encouraging visitors to explore the Lower Falls area provides that quiet, snow-covered Upper Peninsula experience many are seeking.”
Tahquamenon Falls State Park encompasses 48,129 acres in northern Luce and Chippewa counties and access to the falls is located off M-123, about 21 miles northeast of Newberry.
For decades, even before roads were built to the area, Tahquamenon Falls has been a destination for countless visitors, with the winter experience rating high.
The Lower Falls cascade over a staircase of five waterfalls. At the Upper Falls, located upstream, the roughly 200-foot-wide river drops a roaring 50 feet, with peak water flows measured here at over 50,000 gallons per second.
Among the park’s winter enhancements at the Lower Falls will be 4 miles of marked snowshoe trails, along with a half-mile of packed walking trail.
Portions of this walking trail include steep hills. Visitors are encouraged to wear devices to improve traction, such as YakTrax, when walking the packed trail.
Dog sled rides through the Lower Falls area will be offered on weekends, as snow depth permits. To make a reservation, contact Husky Haven Kennels at 516-790-9183.
Exploring the park off-trail, with snowshoes or cross-country skis, is encouraged. Park staff can help adventurous souls plan a backcountry adventure. Cell phone service is limited at the park. Park staff urges backcountry travelers to tell someone their plans and to bring adequate food and water.
Winter camping is also available at the Lower Falls Hemlock campground for $18-20 per night, and includes electricity at each plowed site. The restroom buildings are closed, but a water spigot is available in the campground to fill drinking containers.
Snowmobilers will continue to have access to the winter parking areas at the Lower Falls and Upper Falls to allow riders to walk the trails to the falls viewing areas.
For more information on park winter activities, contact Tahquamenon Falls State Park at 906-492-3415.
A Recreation Passport is required for all vehicles entering the park. Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport — $11 for motor vehicles — by checking “Yes” on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Non-residents can purchase a Recreation Passport for $31 annual or $9 daily at the park entrance self-pay station.
For more information on Michigan state parks, check out the DNR’s webpage at www.michigan.gov/dnr.