Pinnacle Falls


May 2006

State: Michigan

Location: 8 miles south west of Big Bay

Height: 25

Crest: 30

Water Source: Yellow Dog River

Waypoint: 46.70639N 87.80667W

Summary: Pinnacle Falls is a remote, wild waterfall west of Big Bay. Visiting this one is a bit of an adventure, but well worth it if you have the time and energy.

Pinnacle Falls is located on a wild stretch of the Yellow Dog River, roughly 8 miles south west of Big Bay. The Yellow Dog has carved out an impressive gorge that must be around 200 feet deep. The falls is about 25 feet high, and is a steep cascade like many of the falls in the area. The falls is named for the large pinnacle of rock on the right side of the falls.

Reaching this waterfall is not trivial and involves driving (or walking or biking) on several unsigned dirt roads. Starting where CR-510 and CR-550 meet south of Big Bay, head west on CR-510. CR-510 is a graded dirt road. Turn right onto AAA Road. This is another graded dirt road. A regular car will have no trouble with these roads. After about 3 miles AAA turns to the left (south), and Northwestern Rd continues straight. Stay on AAA and continue another 2.8 miles. AAA will take a turn to the right (east) and the road to Pinnacle Falls is (or was in 2006) the first left after the turn. This side road joins AAA with a "Y".

This road is more of a two track, but a normal car should be able to manage it. From this point on things get a bit trickier, as there are no road signs, and lots of little roads that do not appear on the maps. In retrospect I was rather lucky finding the falls as easily as I did. You will pass a road to the right, and a road to the left. The road to the left has an orange gate, and leads to a house. You do not want to take either of these roads. Continue past the road with the gate, keep going roughly straight, and start counting roads to the right. Take the fourth dirt road on the right (this is not counting one overgrown road, or counting roads to the left). Take this road, keeping to the left. You should reach a parking area. The total trip from AAA is a bit over two miles.

Assuming the above directions worked, you should see a well worn trail heading into the trees. This trail quickly starts to descend steeply into the gorge. If you are in the right place you will soon encounter a small clearing with a wooden pillar that identifies this as Pinnacle Falls. Of course you are not at the falls yet, and must continue deeper into the gorge, and then around the 100+ foot high pinnacle itself, before you will see the falls.

I biked to the falls from AAA, but it looked like a regular car could have handled the roads.

This area has been recently preserved by the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.

[Lake Superior] [Marquette & Baraga County] Nearby Falls

The much easier to reach Yellow Dog Falls are several miles downstream. Marquette County has dozens of waterfalls, many of them are in remote locations in the wild area north and west of the city of Marquette. Most of them are better described as rapids as they tend not to be very high or steep. This site has a rather comprehensive list of the falls.

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Last Modified: Friday, 25-Sep-2009 20:50:12 MDT.

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