Michigan Waterfalls Provide Peaceful Vacations

| 7/29/2014 9:07:00 AM

Country MoonSometimes a peaceful, relaxing vacation, where you don’t feel pushed to run from place to place and “see it all,” is just what the soul needs. Seeking the Wolverine state’s many waterfalls provides just such an getaway.

Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula has nearly 150 waterfalls ranging from unnamed small falls to large cascading rivers falling over cliffs. Most of these can be found in all four directions around Munising and in Alger county.

When you think of waterfalls in Michigan, Tahquamenon Falls immediately comes to mind, being the granddaddy of them all. It is the second largest falls east of the Mississippi, only Niagara Falls outranks it. According to Indian lore, the name Tahquamenon is attributed to the water’s amber color, which is the result of tanic acid leached from the cedar and hemlock swamps that feed the river.

Tahquamenon is actually two different falls. The Upper Falls spans 200 feet and has a drop of 48 feet. The Lower Falls is located 4 miles downstream and is a series of five smaller falls that cascade around an island. These falls are breathtaking and you will think you are in paradise and, quite literally, you are since the falls are located just outside of Paradise, Michigan.

When you are in the area of Tahquamenon, you may want your next waterfall stop to be the one that is smack-dab in the center of a bear ranch, Oswald’s Bear Ranch that is. It is the largest (bear only) bear ranch in the United States. At last count it was home to 29 bears with two large habitats and two smaller ones. The yearling bears have a waterfall within their habitat.

Oswald’s does not breed any bears, but rather provides a home for rescued cubs. Area youth enter contests each year to name the cubs. Platforms provide visitors with a barrier-free view of the bears in their natural habitat. They can watch the 4 p.m. feeding and handle and feed the rescued cubs fruit loops while getting their photograph taken with a live cub. OK, I’ve had a couple dog issues so I never dreamed that I would pet a live bear, but it really is awesome!

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