Upper Tahquamenon Falls

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Tahquamenon Falls


Upper Tahquamenon Falls is one of the most iconic landmarks in Michigan. The water is stained brown from tannins leached from the vast expanse of cedar swamps that form its headwaters. As the water crashes almost 50 feet into the deep pool beneath, it foams and boils giving it the nickname “Root Beer Falls.”

This is a very popular spot and the infrastructure is designed to handle crowds. Paved paths and cleared overlooks line the bluff overlooking the falls. Boardwalks and stairs lead to decks with scenic views above and below. Finding a time when the light is ideal for photography can be a challenge. Generally mornings are best since the falls face east. Since it’s down in a gorge, deep shadows are an issue on sunny days.

On this fall morning the sky was brightly overcast. The scene was illuminated by a gentle diffused light that was perfect for the circumstances. I took my picture from one of the overlooks and framed it to eliminate the dull sky.

A well-developed infrastructure isn’t always a bad thing. If, like me, you find yourself developing a thirst watching all of this foamy water rush over the falls, there is quite a good brewery just off the parking lot. They’re open year-round since this is also a popular spot with snowmobilers.

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