Pinnacle Falls

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Pinnacle Falls

When I’m in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, one of my favorite pastimes is to track down remote waterfalls that are off the beaten path. I’d tried to locate Pinnacle Falls on the Yellow Dog River a couple of times without success. But through perseverance I was finally able to track it down last fall.

From its headwaters in the McCormick Wilderness to its mouth on Lake Independence near Big Bay, the Yellow Dog flows through some of the most remote territory in the Upper Peninsula. Its bordered to the north by the exclusive Huron Mountain Club, a vast wilderness retreat for the uber rich.

The Yellow Dog is one of the most pristine rivers in Michigan. In recent years it has been the scene of some controversy as the State of Michigan approved a industrial Sulfide Mine near its watershed–a move vigorously apposed by the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.

Finding Pinnacle Falls is an adventure that requires navigating miles of gravel roads and unmarked dirt paths. I’d never found clear directions, so even though I knew I was close a few times, it eluded me in the maze of dirt paths that crisscross the Yellow Dog plains. Finally through a process of elimination I came to a trail head with a small sign that confirmed my destination. A short hike along the ridge of a ravine brings you down to the edge of the river where you then backtrack up stream to the falls. You’ll not find a more beautiful waterfall in a more remote location in Michigan.

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