Three Foot Falls Rd 517: Success?

Camped last night at Twelve Foot Falls park and the neighbor’s bonfire nearly smoked me out. Needless to say I was up early and ready to head out. First stop today is at the end of County Forest Road 517 to hopefully settle the score and finally locate the elusive (or completely non-existent) Three Foot Falls. Last time I was here in 2019 I couldn’t find anything of note – would today be the day?

Since my last visit I’ve been scouring the maps and collaborating with fellow enthusiasts but we still aren’t sure of the full story on this one. Armed with better information, I started down the sandy two-track where the road ends.

The forests here are still quite green and thick. Colors are changing just a bit which is nice. Using my GPS coordinates I left the two track and began finding my way through the trees.

I tried several different routes and my conclusion is there is no single good route. Bust through the dense woods as best you can, and try to find old game trails. They might be narrow but it beats the alternative of making a new route. This is the not fun part.

My consolation prize for the morning was spotting a ruffed grouse who was trying to escape my presence. Not something you see everyday, pretty neat! These things are near silent and FAST when they want to be so this is an unexpected treat.

After bumbling around getting slapped in the face with branches, I finally reached the North Branch Pike River. Compared to 2019 I’m farther north which is where I estimate something exists. Behold, some very very tiny rapids! Wait, that’s not what I wanted…

Here’s another view of the same small feature while standing next to or slightly above. Small rapids, however notice on the opposite shoreline that you can see a visible drop in water level downstream. Could it be this is the “falls” I’m looking for, and the low autumn water levels just make it look tiny? I can confidently say I have absolutely no idea.

I hiked up and down stream from here and can only find other small rapids. Pictured below is a good representation of the views I am getting – mostly obscured, brush so thick you can’t get through, and not really anything exceptional to look at. That’s not to say this area isn’t beautiful – just not the falls I am expecting. The water is shallow enough you could probably wade but the current seems relatively fast with no promise of finding anything so that option was off my agenda.

Another photo of the small rapids to show what I am seeing, boots on the ground. Did I finally succeed in finding something? Uncertain. Will I be going back anytime soon? No, or at least not until further scouting reveals a more substantial target. Putting this one on hiatus until further notice and suggest you spend time looking elsewhere too.


Here’s a short video of my hike and the rapids (falls?) that I found. On this trip I’d say the video shows a better representation than the photos just because it is such a small drop.

Hiking Data

Here’s the route I took. Notice I made some rather large loops near the river trying to find passable paths in the dense forest. Lots of small underbrush with high stem counts. Remember that ruffed grouse? In some areas that’s the largest animal that would fit through. Not much fun. [Note: That faint red line under the orange is my track from 2019, you can see how far off I was]

Total distance was only about 2/3 mile with almost zero elevation change. The distance is easy, it’s the thick brush that ramps up the difficulty.

Lat = 45.590889 , Long = -88.1258469 -- Show at Google Maps

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