Posted by: Kath Usitalo | July 25, 2011

The Legend Of Tahquamenon Falls

Upper Tahquamenon Falls

Tahquamenon Falls are still flowing the Ojibway Maiden’s root beer tears.

I hadn’t seen the falls in their tannin-colored glory in a few years, so I thought I’d make a day trip from Blue Skies. The park sprawls over 50,000 acres in the Eastern Upper Peninsula and I had just a couple of hours, so I chose to revisit the Upper Falls and save a trip to the Lower Falls for another day—probably September, when the leaves turn color.

Moose sighting at the park

Saturday was a beautiful day (no bugs, either) and the park was jumpin’—I saw license plates from at least 8 states.

The falls, the larger of the two sets, were impressing folks with their rushing waters tinted brown.

An Indian legend claims the name Tahquamenon means “root beer” and the color of the water is that of the special, sweet beverage a young Ojibway man created for his Indian Maiden. She loved him almost as much as she loved his root beer.

As Indian legends go, the young man met with a tragic early death on this river and so the Maiden will forever cry the brown-colored water because she misses him…and his root beer.

Scientists say the color is courtesy the surrounding cedar swamps.

About 50,000 gallons per second flow over the falls, which are more than 200 feet wide and drop nearly 50 feet. (The Lower Falls are a series of smaller drops downstream from the Upper.)

I'll save you the guessing: it's river otter poo

As an added attraction, park rangers entertain, inform, and challenge visitors with nature exhibits such as the Scat Quiz, at which I witnessed a ranger dropping hints to a young girl who was trying to guess which animals dropped various examples of scat found in the park.

Now that’s something for the postcard to her best friend.

My research included a taste testing of the Lumberjack Lager at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub. The blonde lager hit the spot—but I asked for a sample of the Porcupine Pale Ale and that will be my choice if it’s on the menu on my next visit.

Lumberjack Pale Lager at the Tahquamenon Brewery at the park

Hear them roar: Check out my YouTube video at

Tahquamenon Falls

Visitor Info Clicks:

Upper Peninsula

Pure Michigan



  1. […] more about the park see The Legend of Tahquamenon Falls at Great Lakes […]

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