May 05-10

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2010: May: May 05-10
Lower Tahquamenon    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Sharon Smith
Upper Tahquamenon    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Sharon Smith

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 07:56 am:

Sharon Smith was recently traveling through the eastern part of the U.P. and made a stop to check out the Tahquamenon Falls on her way. She pointed out to me that nobody talks much about the Lower falls, as all the publicity and hoopla are centered around the Upper falls, so Sharon brought us back one view of each. Her first shot is the Lower falls, which doesn't have as dramatic a drop, nor does it seem to have the "raw power" of so much water rushing all at once, as the Upper falls do. But it's still quite the picturesque cascade with a series of five smaller falls. There's an island that this series of smaller cascades can also be viewed from, which you get to by rowboat. Now wouldn't that be a fun way to get out and enjoy the view?

Of course the second picture is one you'll recognize as the Upper falls, the one most highly touted, since it's one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. This falls was created by an ancient earthquake, causing it to have a vertical drop of nearly 50 feet, while being more than 200 feet wide. With it being that wide and dropping from that height, no wonder it's been recorded with more than 50,000 gallons of water per second flowing over that drop. All those impressive stats contribute to the reason it outshines the lower falls most of the time.

Looks to me though, like both of these falls are pretty spectacular in their own right and for different reasons. I don't know about you, but I'm marking them both on my "to-do" list, for places I have to see. You can find directions here: Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 08:11 am:

Two very beautiful photos, Sharon. Does anyone know what causes that brownish flow on the left side the Upper Falls......looks like there may be a copper vein in that part of the rocks?

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 08:16 am:

I have seen both Falls, both are beautiful to admire in any season.

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 08:20 am:

Great photos go girl!

By Serena Sturm (Serena) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 08:23 am:

I love going there and seeing the Falls in all the seasons. So different from Winter n Summer.

Great photos today!!

By Pam & Jim - Calumet (Pjgrill) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 08:25 am:

While at the falls years ago, a little boy said to his mother, now I know where root beer comes from.

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 08:40 am:

Every couple years we go there and check it out and make sure we go see both. The lower falls you can get wet and splash in the water. I don't recommend it for the upper though.

By CAL, Oshkosh WI (Cal) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 08:41 am:

I remember learning, long long ago, that the water over these falls is brown due to the tannins in the water from the cedar or pine trees along the banks.

By Joy Brewer (Joy) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 09:06 am:

Beautiful photos this morning! Pasty friends, after October 1st, when you buy your license plates you can voluntary opt to pay ten dollars more for your plate; this will be your state park sticker for the year. Your Michigan license plate will be your parks passport to all state parks and recreation areas. This way when any of you are going home and you happen to pass a state recreation area you can pull in and enjoy what we yoopers already know a bit of “God’s Country.” Have a marvelous day everyone!

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 09:09 am:

Has anyone ever tried going over the upper falls in a barrel? (don't get any ideas, folks)

By mickill mouse (Ram4) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 09:39 am:

First time I saw the falls was with my grandpa and I remember walking out onto a platform of some kind, like a deck and I just stood there looking at the falls and how awsome it was to watch and listen to the falls.

By Helen Marie Chamberlain (Helen) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 09:39 am:

Lovely pictures, Sharon, and I love those falls.
Have visited them frequently, but not recently.
Thank you.

By kay Moore (Mskatie) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 09:40 am:

CAL that's also what I've read about the 'root beer'color of the water.It's from all the water as it drains from the land and forests and low land. The copper color is appropiate from the Copper Country.

By Paul Oesterle (Paulwebbtroll) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 10:48 am:

Great memories of these falls! I was married on the 28th of September in 1952. We went to Niagra(sp) Falls on our honeymoon and then toured the UP also. Castle Rock and both falls, the upper and lower. We also rowed over to the island at the lower falls. I wonder if the same row boat is being used today? In the fall of 1978 we took a tour again of both falls. My wife was terminally ill with liver cancer at that time.

By David C Cloutier (Dccloutier) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 11:11 am:

The Tahquamenon River drainage includes a large area of cedar swamps. The brown color is caused by tannins from decaying plant matter in the swamps. The flow looks a little low for this time of year. Has it been dry there this year?

By Rob (Robze) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 11:31 am:

Alex, not sure about a barrel but I saw on YouTube a couple of, not the sharpest tools in the shed, jumping off the upper falls. It was summer time so the water was not rushing as hard/fast as it does in the spring and fall.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 11:46 am:

Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio):
"Does anyone know what causes that brownish flow on the left side the Upper Falls …"

Well, CAL, Oshkosh WI (Cal), kay Moore (Mskatie) and David C Cloutier (Dccloutier) all have it right.

As noted in the Tahquamenon Falls link in Mary's post (I'll betcha a lot of our readers didn't even look there! {wink}):


"The water is notably brown in color from the tannins leached from the cedar swamps which the river drains. This phenomenon is responsible for the alternative local name 'Root Beer Falls'."

Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 01:38 pm:

Thank you FRNash, Kay and David, for your answers. Isn't it strange that the whole falls aren't affected....I suppose the 'tannins' are just heavier in spots. And I agree, it does look like Root Beer.:9

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 01:43 pm:

oops!..thank you too, CAL, didn't mean to omit your reason is..'cause I'm old.:)

By Thomas Baird (Thomas) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 04:29 pm:

I visited there in 1985. Glad to see it's still beautiful.

By Jack K (Jackinct) on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 08:01 pm:

I remember watching my parents walk behind the falls when I was a kid. My dad has a movie he took from behind the water out to where we were standing. Of course that was long before most of the wooden stuff was put up. It wasn't until I got older that I wondered what would have happened to us kids if they slipped while they were back there.
After the wooden stuff was installed we used to race up the stairs from the river to the top. Being the youngest I usually got a head start.

By DARRELL C OINAS (Northwind) on Thursday, May 6, 2010 - 12:47 am:

The color of the water is the same all across the falls and brown due to the tannins, why it looks darker on one side is due to the density of the flow. The darker color is a greater thickness of water and more of it. Then again i could be wrong.

Powered by:  
Join Today!
You are welcome to comment here or on 
Pasty Central's Facebook page
Here's a list of messages posted in the past 24 hours
See our guest photo gallery for more great views from the U.P.

Add a Message

A user/password combination is now required to post messages to Cam Notes. Registration is free. Click here to register or maintain your I.D.

Home | Pasty Cam | Contest | Order Now | Bridge Cam | Past-E-Mail | GP Hall of Fame | Making Pasties | Questions