Fall is a special time to paddle the Tahquamenon River, one of the few rivers in Michigan designated as a National Wild and Scenic River. September is when the vibrant colors of Michigan hardwoods are just beginning to show in the stunning reflection of the dark, tannin-stained water – and the water is one of the best ways to enjoy this beauty.
If you’re looking for a wilderness escape with a bit of competition thrown in, sign up for the Tahquamenon Wilderness Canoe Race on September 15th. It’s perfectly timed for racers to see the beauty autumn offers here in the Upper Peninsula, and the temps will be pretty perfect, too.
Here are a few reasons to participate in the Great Race from the Lower Tahquamenon Falls to Lake Superior.
The Time and Location
Fall in the Yoop? It doesn’t get much better for viewing the natural beauty of the area. Beyond the thrills of hosting the Great Race, Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a destination for paddlers, hikers, and fishermen/women from across the country. Located in an aged, pristine forest, Tahquamenon Falls is a gem of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and among the most visited of Michigan’s state parks because of its magnificent waterfall views. The third mightiest waterfall east of the Mississippi, the Upper Falls captivates onlookers with spectacular views and boasts a 50-foot drop.
The Lower Falls, the starting point for the race, has smaller sets of cascading falls. Tahquamenon Falls Lower Falls is great for fishing or enjoying a gentle row in the basin, but there is only one time of year that it hosts two Michigan Canoe Racing Association-sanctioned races: an individual challenge and a team of two event that is the Tahquamenon Wilderness Canoe Race.
The Challenge of the Race
You can go solo or paddle with a partner, but, however you compete, you’ll find worthy adversaries. One unique thing about canoe racing is that the strongest person often does not win. Fitness and strength matter, but, more often than not, skill and experience win the race. Tandem racers kick off this race at 8:00 am with a 17 ½ miles, two-person canoe race. The oarsmen and oarswomen maneuver the waters of the Tahquamenon River from the basin of the Lower Tahquamenon Falls to Lake Superior.
The one-person race (C-1) covers less distance, 6 ½ miles, starting at 1:30 PM at the Tahquamenon River mouth. Paddling against the current, racers travel up the river half the distance, then return to the river mouth. Because the Tahquamenon Scenic and Wild River winds through such beautiful country and spills into a Lake that thinks it’s an ocean, racers and spectators alike find ways to enjoy nature throughout race day.
The Fun After the Race
If you’re coming for the race, stay for the fun. Tahquamenon Falls and the surrounding area make for some amazing adventures. Once you’ve tested your mettle against some of the nation’s finest canoe racers, you’re in the perfect spot to enjoy more of the UP’s beauty, or simply relax on the shores of Lake Superior. Whether you win the race, make your best time, or just enjoy the challenge of the competition, your reward is being in this place of awe and wonder.
Be sure to get ahead of the competition when looking for a place to stay in the area. Paradise Shores Cabins are a short drive from Tahquamenon Falls State Park, and, when you stay with us, you’ll enjoy many amenities and a home-away-from home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Reach out to us today to reserve a spot!