The Pinnacle of waterfalls

“Save the Wild U.P” takes hikers on a wilderness tour to Pinnacle Falls

If you’ve ever had difficulty finding Pinnacle Falls, you’re not alone. It’s one of the U.P’s most secluded waterfalls.

As part of our Northern Exposure Series we went into the Wild U.P. to unravel the secret to finding the hidden gem.

“This is one of the more remote waterfalls, it’s not that far off the map but people can’t find it. There aren’t signs pointing you to it, so this is a rare opportunity for people to have a guided trip where someone is going to help them go down,” said. Kathleen Heideman, President, Save the Wild U.P.

Yes, the secret – a guided tour – rare….but possible. From Marquette, it’s a good 30 minute drive down County Road 550 before you even get to the access road, which is mostly unpaved. Twenty minutes later you’ve finally reached the trailhead. Only then can you hike another 20–30 minutes down to the falls. Most Yoopers and even experienced hikers have never laid eyes on this rare beauty.

“I was born in Marquette, I’ve never been to Pinnacle Falls, I’ve heard they are pretty hard to find so I am excited to go with some Powell Township locals and seek them out,” said Erin Bozek–Jurbis.

“I’ve never been to Pinnacle Falls, I’ve hiked a lot out in the Yellow Dog Plains but I’ve never been specifically to this waterfall so I am just real excited to see it,” said Alexandra Maxwell, Community Organizer, Save the Wild U.P.

Save the Wild U.P organized a special hiking trip to the old glacial outwash which features Archean exposed rock that dates back billions of years. Along the way, you’re encouraged to rub the Yellow Dog Watershed Preservation rock to show your appreciation for the hallowed ground. Once you’ve paid your respects, it’s downhill from there; hiking through overgrown trees and plants. Many stop to admire a tree, nicknamed the Octopus. Then you venture on, around bends, over downed trees and you get a glimpse of the Yellow Dog River. As you continue to maneuver the wilderness…you finally hear the rush of anticipated beauty.

Once you arrive, it looks like the tradition is to take off your shoes and experience the falls barefoot. So while others needed to feel the falls on their feet, others captured the moment with their camera, while others simply savored the moment by copping a squat and enjoying a much deserved bite to eat.

The venturers of the crew thought the view from afar just wasn’t enough, so they climbed closer.  But of course, you couldn’t leave without a bit of history on how the falls were formed.

“When the glaciers pushed across North America they stopped in Upper Michigan and the nose of the glacier as it was melting formed the sand that formed the Yellow Dog Plains, including Eagle Mines location but as the water from the glacier drained it had to get away from the front of the glacier so it ponded up for a while then it found outlets and it poured off the Yellow Dog Plains in all directions,” continued Heidman.

Those young and old said the trek was well worth every step, rock, root and broken tree limb they had to climb over, to reach the falls.