Pinnacle Falls on Yellow Dog River

tall, rocky dive of Yellow Dog Plains

Color around the falls
  • The river flowing through and under the crib
  • Natural campsite
  • A post on the trail near the pinnacle
  • Color around the falls
  • Looking up the rocky pinnacle
  • Pinnacle Falls
  • Downstream beaver dam
  • Angled view of the falls
  • Enticing rises across the river

From its highlands in the McCormick Tract the Yellow Dog River drops over a thousand feet before flowing into Lake Independence in Big Bay. Along the route it flows over several different waterfalls, the most rugged and scenic being Pinnacle Falls on the Yellow Dog Plains. A flat sandy plain is not a normal place to find a waterfall. However, far underneath the pine trees and sand there is a rugged rocky topology, one that only barely pokes up at Eagle Rock and is uncovered by the deep sandy gorge that the Yellow Dog River has cut to the north.

Pinnacle Falls flows between the tough northern rises of Mulligan Plains and a spire of rock that shoots up from the river bank. At the top of the waterfall an old timber crib sits, reminder of past logging days, before the river pours down a jagged slide into a deep, wide pool. The area around the falls is part of a protected grant, freely available for the the public to enjoy.


Starting at County Road 510 head west on the Triple A for 5.9 miles, slowly climbing up the sandy wooded plains until the road straightens like an arrow. Turn left at the small two-track, which has been marked by a 'For Sale' sign on previous trips, for 1.4 miles. Along this section the road bends to the left before forking, bear left at the fork for an additional .3 miles before turning right for a bumpy .6 mile drive to the parking area.

Head down the path at the end of the road, down a steep rutted trail to the bottom of the sandy river valley. At the post continue straight, as the right fork just heads to the river above the falls. Stay on the trail past the post, bearing left when a right fork heads up a steep path, circling around the base of the tall rocky pinnacle. The falls are on the far side of this outcropping. The footpath is fairly well defined, although summer growth and a lack of markers can make it a little hard to make out.

Comments (4)

  • Amie Jul 18, '18 Since paving/rebuilding AAA, getting to Pinnacle Falls is extremely easy now.
    • Jacob P Emerick Jul 24, '18 Hi Amie! Thanks for the update - is the road off AAA to the trailhead still kind of rough, or has that been trimmed back / cleaned up?
    • Amie Lucas Oct 4, '18 Sorry! I just saw this response. The trailhead is pretty clean. There's a little parking area for a couple of cars. The trail itself is the same, if not more rugged on the steep areas and overgrown in some of the flat areas.
    • John Jun 29, '21 The turnoff off of the paved AAA road is now called "Pinnacle Falls Road". If you are on the right road, you will quickly come to a gravel pit area. From the gravel pit area, all of the intersecting two tracks now have wooden signs pointing to the falls. The parking area will accommodate maybe four cars. When I went three years ago, the trail was very rugged with the parts that steeply descend into the valley quite washed out. You had to really watch your footing.
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