We set out on this hike with big ambitions of hiking 8 miles.
Online information as well as the signage said that the trail was 4 miles each way. This did not account for the 1+ before and after the trail or the 200+ steps to the viewing areas. We ended our hike as a one way hike and it was 6.8 miles.
They had a shuttle service that took you from the end of the trail to the beginning of the trail. It was $16 well spent. Plus the driver of the shuttle gave us some great information about the North Country Trail. We had never heard of this trail but its a crazy ambitious hike. It looks to be tougher than both the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Coast Trail. It starts in up state New York and goes allllll the way to North Dakota. It’s 4600 miles long and if you thru-hike you are bound to encounter freezing temperatures being that far north. It takes on average 7-8 months to complete the entire trail. I just could not imagine … Brrrrr!
Speaking of Brrrr… When we set out to do the River Trail at Tahquamenon Falls it was quite nippy. But we warmed up pretty quickly. The hike started out with a nice view of the lower falls.
It was a boardwalked area with lots of look out points. Once we got off of the boardwalk there was a pretty decent ascent. That got our blood pumping…. But the middle part of the trail was pretty flat. There were lots of planked walk ways and bridges, along with a few sets of stairs. The trail is very clearly marked, it almost impossible to get lost on this one…. Even for us :). There were also plenty of benches to stop and take rest. The river itself had a reddish brown tint to it. This is because the water filters through a Cedar River and the trees change the color of the water. Although discolored this water is said to be very clean. The city girl in me doesn’t really trust it but, that is what they say.
There was another ascent at the end of the trail. Then you leave the trail and walk for a bit on a paved road. At this paved road there is a sign that says 116 steps to the gorge. This is one of the look out points to see the upper falls… So we did the 116 steps down and 116 steps back up. Thinking we had seen what there was to see, we started walking towards where we thought the parking lot was. Well then we came to another set of stairs. This one said 94 steps down. So we did the 94 steps down. This was a view from the top of the falls. And my personal favorite view. The look out points for both the upper and lower falls were pretty crowded. You are able to park in the parking lot less than a mile away from each of them. There was a yummy restaurant/ brewery right in the same parking lot of the upper falls look out area.