Pine National Scenic River

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Pine River

The lower 26-miles of the Pine River was designated a National Scenic River in 1992. The Pine River provides a unique recreation experience for lower Michigan, supporting quality opportunities for a diversity of recreation activities in a relatively undeveloped setting. Canoeing and kayaking are the primary activities on this river, with much of the appeal being the fast water and light rapids. The Pine River has a river gradient of 7% and offers the fastest average flow of any river in lower Michigan.

Scenery is one of the most outstanding attributes of the river. The designated portion of the river contains a unique riparian landform with its deeply incised river channel and high, exposed sand banks. Diverse vegetation contributes to the overall "scenic" feel of the river. Tree species vary from cedar-hemlock, ash, elm, sugar and red maple, and basswood in the lowland portions to mixed oak, pine and aspen in the upland areas. There are small openings scattered throughout the corridor that provide habitat diversity for many species of wildlife.

To download the Pine River, National Scenic River, brochure, with map, visit the Maps and Publications section of the website or select this link:  This brochure is set to print on 11 x 17 paper, landscape (wide) orientation.  To print on 8 1/2 x 11 paper set the print area to "shrink to printable area", this will make the text on the page smaller.  

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless otherwise posted.
Rentals & Guides: Canoe Rentals -
  • Baldwin
    • Bosman's Canoe Rental
  • Irons
    • Shomler Canoe and Kayak
  • Wellston
    • Carl's Canoe Livery
    • Pine River Paddlesport Center
    • Horina's Canoe and Kayak
    • Sportsman's Port
Area Amenities: Boat ramp
Fees Recreation Enhancement Act Fee - Watercraft Permits -
  • Reservations are not required, but are recommended.  Visit the Passes and Permits section for more information.
Recreation Enhancement Act Fee - Day Use -
  • Dobson Bridge
  • Elm Flats
  • Low Bridge
  • Peterson Bridge North
Concessionaire Fee - Camping -
  • Peterson Bridge South Campground
Day Use -
  • Peterson Bridge South Campground
Permit Info: Watercraft Permit -
  • Required May 15 to September 10.
Special Use Permit -
  • No special use permit is required for individuals or small groups (74 people or less).
  • Permits are required for commercial, event or large groups (75 people or more).
Usage: Heavy
Best Season: Memorial Day to Labor Day
Busiest Season: Memorial Day to Labor Day
Restrictions: Pine River Corridor - Camping -
  • Camping within a ¼ mile of the river, except at Peterson Bridge campground.
Watercraft -
  • Leaving a watercraft unattended more than 36 hours.
  • Launching a watercraft except at designated sites.
  • Entering, leaving or using National Forest lands in the Pine National Scenic River Corridor with the intent to launch or retrieve a watercraft before 9:00 am or after 6:00 pm. during the period of Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend, unless authorized by permit.
Sanitation -
  • Possessing, storing or transporting foam coolers, glass beverage and/or food containers.
Paddling Violations of the Maritime Safety Act are strictly enforced on this river. To protect the river and provide an enjoyable paddling experience for all visitors, the following restrictions apply:
  • Each paddler needs a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Children under 12 must wear one at all times.
  • Fasten all equipment, bottles and containers to the watercraft.
  • Pack out all trash.
  • Reduce erosion - don't climb river banks.
  • The following are prohibited: fireworks; nudity; drunk and disorderly/underage; drugs; harassing wildlife; diving from/standing in watercraft; trespassing; collecting animals/plants/driftwood; glass/foam food containers/balloons.
  • Use public sites for rest stops.
Closest Towns: Dublin, Wellston
Operated By: Cadillac Manistee Ranger District - (231) 723-2211
Information Center: Cadillac/Manistee Ranger District 231-723-2211

General Information

General Notes:

County - Lake, Wexford, Manistee


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Boat ramp Wood, Gravel