Get lost in the wonders of nature in Luce County. As you begin to unwind from daily stresses, your biggest decisions will revolve around whether to spend the day on land or water.
You will hear the thunderous roar of water long before you reach the lookout
Tahquamenon Falls Photo credit: Kayla Amber
The distant roar is up to 50,000 gallons of water cascading every second over a 200+-feet wide, nearly 50-foot deep precipice. The magnificent Upper Tahquamenon Falls is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. A paved, 0.4-mile pathway takes you to an outlook at the crest of the falls and to steps that bring you down to where the water crashes into the Tahquamenon River. The cool spray, the rainbows dancing across the water and the steady roaring will mesmerize you. Or visit in winter when snow blankets the falls and you can listen to the ice crack like lightning through the quiet, heralding the thundering water that will return in spring.
Visiting Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a must on any itinerary. From the Upper Falls, you can hike a 4-mile trail to the Lower Tahquamenon Falls or reach them by car. There you can watch this picturesque series of five smaller falls from the riverbank. Or rent a rowboat from the concession stand and paddle out to walk on the island to take a closer look.
You also can see this state park’s stunning scenery on the Tahquamenon Falls Riverboat Tours & the Famous Toonerville Trolley. The 6.5-hour wilderness adventure starts with a ride to the Tahquamenon River on the longest 24-gauge train in the U.S. You will then board a riverboat for a two-hour narrated cruise followed by a ⅝-mile hike to a private viewing area of the falls. (This and other tours are offered mid-June to early October.)
Another favorite activity is to grab lunch or dinner at Tahquamenon Falls Brewery and Pub located in the state park. It is renowned for the warmth of its fireplace, hearty meals, craft beers and Camp 33 Gift Shop.
Immerse in a land of legends and lore
Luce County is Paul Bunyan territory. Learn the stories of camp life and how rugged lumberjacks felled the timber and got it to the mills with a visit to the Tahquamenon Logging Museum.
These woods and waters also inspired Longfellow’s famous “The Song of Hiawatha” and Hemingway’s Nick Adams adventures on the “Big Two-Hearted River.” You can bring the pages to life as you reel in steelhead and trout.
Take dream rides and hikes all four seasons.
Fall Color ORV Ride Photo credit: Ashley Friske
Motorcyclists claim Luce County is a dream place to ride from the spring thaw to the dazzling colors of fall. The leaf shows here are one of the reasons the U.P. was voted “Best Destination for Fall Foliage” by USA Today. Hikers, ORV/ATV riders, snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, and dog sledders would also agree that this area’s hundreds of miles of trails offer endless reasons to come back. Many of these trails begin and end right near our lodgings.
You also can fill hours paddling our rivers and lakes, fishing, birding, hunting for morel mushrooms in the spring, berries in the summer and wild game in the fall, or photographing wildflowers. And while moose sightings are rare, you are more likely to see these elusive giants in-and-around Newberry, Michigan’s Moose Capital.
View rescued bears up close or nuzzle sled dog puppies.
Oswald’s Bear Ranch Photo credit: Erick M Schmidt
Oswald’s Bear Ranch, one of the top-ten family-friendly attractions in the U.P., is a refuge for rescued black bears in Newberry. It is the largest all-bear ranch in the U.S. and offers its 40 bears plenty of room to roam. One of the highlights of your visit will be having your photo taken with a cub.
Another animal-lovers’ high point is Nature’s Kennel Sled Dog Adventures, where you and your kids can hold the puppies and learn how they are trained for long-distance runs on snowy trails. Budding mushers in your family can pick up the basics and drive a sled dog team as part of a day or overnight trip.
If only Luce County’s lone lighthouse could talk
Crisp Point Light Photo credit: Head in the Clouds Photography
Though only 37 miles north of Newberry, Crisp Point Lighthouse feels very remote. It is one of the original five U.S. lifesaving stations on Lake Superior between Whitefish Point and Munising. When volunteers are available, you can explore the Visitors Center and climb to the top of the lighthouse tower for a panoramic view of Lake Superior. Take time to wander the winding shore, keep an eye out for passing freighters and pause to consider all of the stories of ships and keepers this lighthouse holds. Rock hunters may strike treasure as Crisp Point is known for agates.
You’re about an hour drive to some of the U.P.’s most popular destinations
Basing from Luce County makes so much sense. It is an easy drive to Grand Sable Dunes in Grand Marais, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Seney National Wildlife Refuge, Kitch-iti-kipi Big Spring, Mackinac Island, the Soo Locks and the additional lighthouses at Whitefish Point and Point Iroquois.
Celebrate our past and present
From the moment the snow flies ‘til the leaves turn amber, crimson and orange, there are dozens of reasons to come together and celebrate what we love most about Luce County. In January watch sled dogs race in Tahquamenon Country; follow lantern-lit snowshoe trails in February; enjoy monthly Lumberjack Breakfasts from May-September; a Classic Car Show in July and Music Festivals in July and August.