This Paradise, Michigan, park on the state’s Upper Peninsula is known for its famous root-beer-hued waterfall.

The famous falls at Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Paradise, Michigan (photo courtesy of Upper Peninsula Travel & Recreation)

Entranced by tales of the wild beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “The Song of Hiawatha” about a Native American who builds his canoe “by the rushing Taquamenaw.”

The poem was an instant success, and although Longfellow never made it to this remote region of Michigan, he got the particulars right. Every second, the fast-moving Tahquamenon River can send 50,000 gallons of amber-colored water cascading over a 50-foot cliff drop that creates the spectacle of Upper Tahquamenon Falls. This vast amount of water makes the Upper Falls the second-largest cascade east of the Mississippi, with Niagara Falls being the first. 

Both Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls, which is located further downstream, the river and the area’s 15 inland lakes are part of the 48,000-acre Tahquamenon Falls State Park, located just a few miles from the eastern shore of Lake Superior. The park is famous for its fall colors, but it also attracts 100,000 or so visitors during the winter, when snow blankets the woods and the falls begin to freeze.

There are trails to the Upper Falls, but Tahquamenon Falls Train and Riverboat Tours, which run from mid-June through Oct. 1, offers an easier way, traveling first aboard a train and then a riverboat. Until a few years ago, access to Lower Falls Island was only by kayak or canoe. Today, a 142-foot pedestrian bridge connects the island and mainland. 

Any trip requires sustenance, and the place for that is the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub. The ambience is Northwoods, with wood timbers and a stone fireplace as well as a menu of craft beers and regional specialties such as bison burgers and fresh white fish. 41382 W. M-123, Paradise, Michigan 49768, 906/492-3415,