West Branch Falls on West Branch Yellow Dog River

tall, sliding chute in the McCormick Tract

Halfway up the falls
  • Early morning on the McCormick Tract
  • Halfway up the falls
  • Slides and drops on the West Branch
  • Foamy cascading water under the log
  • Looking back at the falls

Unlike Bulldog Falls, its counterpart to the east, West Branch Falls does not empty a series of famous lakes. Instead, this waterfall drains some swamps northwest of Bulldog Lake in a tall, sudden chute of foaming water. The river cuts deep between two layers of rocks, eroding away at the base of a rocky outcropping while sliding along the flat slab.

This waterfall is located in a designated wilderness area, a short distance from the northern trailhead. The McCormick Tract does not allow marked roads or trails, and only the footfalls of previous visitors track the path in from the parking area.

Directions

Take the AAA Road west from Anderson's Corner, which quickly bends southwards. Continue south on Ford Road (AAA veers west after a half mile) and take a short right turn 2 miles from Anderson's Corner into a small parking area with signs for the Ottawa National Forest.

Follow the trail leading east, just left of the big forestry sign, until you bump into a river. West Branch Falls should be audible, a short distance upstream. Follow the river up to view the large falls. To continue on to Bulldog Falls, double back to the trail and continue east over the river.

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