On Aug. 6, 2021, a new TikTok video showed a deer appear to survive a 50-foot waterfall drop at Michigan’s Tahquamenon Falls State Park.
The video from @cas_has was viewed 217,000 times and had a music track that might be familiar to TikTok users.
Days later, @cas_has uploaded the video with the original sound.
The raw video of the deer going over the waterfall was viewed more than 2 million times and received nearly 200,000 likes in just over 24 hours.
‘I Can’t Believe It’
In the video, a group of tourists noticed a deer approaching the top of the waterfall from the west. A 360-degree photo from Google Maps showed what appeared to be the Upper Falls at the state park. The deer stopped at the edge of the cliff, but the force of the water carried it over the 50-foot drop. “Oh my God,” one person said, after seeing the deer fall over the edge. A man appeared to also say something about how “nature is a beast.”
Moments later in the video, the deer was spotted swimming south of the waterfall. “I can’t believe it,” another person remarked. “How did it make it,” asked a different tourist.
It’s unclear if the deer was injured when it went over the waterfall, as the video ended with the animal nearing land.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
We reached out to the state park about the video of the deer going over the waterfall to see if anything else was known and received a response from park interpreter Theresa Neal. Neal told us that the viral video “caused quite a ruckus” in the area:
It is a deer going over the Upper Falls. No park staff were present to witness that specific event, but it’s not the first time a white tailed deer has gone over the Upper Falls.
There is a natural migration trail upstream from the falls, where deer often cross the Tahquamenon River. Occasionally, a deer travels downriver instead of across, and winds up tumbling over the falls. Some survive, some don’t.
The video of the deer led us to learn more about the area. Michigan.org published that “Tahquamenon Falls State Park encompasses close to 50,000 acres stretching over 13 miles.”
The centerpiece of the park, and the very reason for its existence, is the Tahquamenon River with its waterfalls.
The Upper Falls is one the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. It has a drop of nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. A maximum flow of more than 50,000 gallons of water per second has been recorded cascading over these falls.
Four miles downstream is the Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island. Although not as dramatic as the Upper Falls, they are equally magnificent.