Vista Falls on West Branch Sturgeon River

swampy headwaters and no waterfall

A straight, grassy path to nowhere
  • A straight, grassy path to nowhere
  • Lush grass clogging up West Branch headwaters
  • Beaver pond swallowing up the track

Vista Falls (probably) does not exist. The waterfall is marked on older topographic maps and even has a full USGS quadrant named after it. Only swamps and the trickling headwaters of West Branch Sturgeon River can be found out here.

For those unwilling to accept this possibility, Vista Falls may be along one of the seasonal tributaries flowing down into the swamp, or perhaps was a logging dam that once sat in the swamp.


To visit the swamps and search for the (so far) elusive waterfall head south off of M-38 along NF-16 for 6.2 miles. Turn left onto S Laird Road for 2 miles and park on the first northbound two-track past the culvert over West Branch Sturgeon River (just a swamp in this area). Follow the two-track on foot past the beaver swamp for about 1.5 miles before cutting off towards the river.

Comments (2)

  • Phil Stagg Apr 23, '14 Great shot of the waterfall! It's the same one I found! You may even find my tire tracks out there. I tried coming in from all 4 roads that surround this elusive (nonexistent) waterfall!
    • Jacob Emerick Apr 24, '14 Hi Phil,Glad we found the same waterfall, heh! Bummed that you tried all the roads, though. I was considering going back out there armed with a GPS and following it downstream more, coming in directly from 1651, maybe trying during this spring melt. The summer I tried was particularly dry - the swamp was low and stinking and barely draining.
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