Recreation

Manistee River Trail, Suspension Bridge

The Huron-Manistee National Forests are 976,043 acres of public lands across the northern lower peninsula of Michigan. With many recreation opportunities for visitors, habitat for fish and wildlife and resources for local industry there is something here for everyone. Each year the forest receives approximately 4 million recreation visits.

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Some Questions Answered

For all of your frequently asked recreation questions, including where and how to find a map, questions about passes and fees, and questions pertaining to specific activities we have developed a Frequently Asked Questions available on the website.

A Recreation Pass

Recreation passes are available through any of our offices. We offer a variety of passes so please check out our Passes and Permits page to determine which pass is right for you.

To Find a Campground/Day Use/Trail/Boat Launch

Not sure where you want to go? Know where you want to go, but can't figure out how to find the information on our website?

Recreation sites are organized by activity and by area/location. If you know what activity you want to do, just select it from the navigation on the left and you will get a list of sites and areas that have that activity. If you know what area you want, use the expandable menu on the right. For areas not along a specific trail or river corridor, sites are organized by their general geographic proximity to each other.

A Trail Map

We have many maps available on our website, including maps for the rivers and nonmotorized trails, located on the Maps and Publications page. We do not have maps for individual campgrounds and day use sites.

If you do not see the map you want, contact one of our offices to obtain a paper copy.

To Know the River Conditions

Visitors are urged to check river conditions with the National Weather Service, Gaylord Office, before visiting.

To Know Snowmobile Trail Conditions

To find trail conditions visit MSA Trail Reports.

To Know which Cross-Country Ski Trails are groomed

All winter trails are in the Recreation Conditions report below from December to March, and for nonmotorized trails will show if the trail is groomed or not in the "Area Conditions" column.

Recreation Conditions Report

 Area Name Status Area Conditions
72nd St. Angler Trail and Fishing Access Open to Visitor This site is maintained year-round. The angler trail is not groomed.
Au Sable Loop Campground and Day Use Area Open to Visitor Managed season is from April 15 to November 30.
Au Sable River Primitive Camping Open to Visitor Reservations needed from May 15 to September 30.
Bear Track Campground Open to Visitor Open May 9 to September 29.
Benton Lake Campground Open to Visitor Open May 9 to September 22.
Bowman Bridge Campground Open to Visitor Open May 9 to October 14. Gated when closed.
Bowman Lake Campground Open to Visitor Managed from May 1 to September 22.
Brush Lake Campground Open to Visitor Maintained from May 1 to September 30.
Buttercup Campground Open to Visitor Managed season is from April 15 to November 30.
Cathedral Pines Campground Open to Visitor Managed season is from April 15 to November 30.
Claybanks Campground Open to Visitor Managed season ends October 15.
Condon Lakes West Open to Visitor Maintained from May 1 to October 30.
Diamond Point Open to Visitor Managed season is from April 1 to November 30.
Elk Canoe Campground Open to Visitor Managed season ends November 30.
Gabions Campground and Day Use Open to Visitor Managed season is from April 15 to November 30.
Gleason's Landing Campground Open to Visitor Open May 9 to October 14.
Government Landing Open to Visitor Managed season is May 15 to October 31.
Hemlock Campground Open to Visitor Open from May 9 to September 15.
Highbank Lake Campground Open to Visitor Open May 2 to September 22.
Horseshoe Lake Campground Open to Visitor Open April 30 to December 1. As of 4/27/2014 this campground is open with no water at a price of $10.00/night. When the water is turned on the price will be the regular per night cost.
Hungerford Recreation Area Open to Visitor Trails are not groomed.
Indian Lake Campground Open to Visitor Maintained from May 1 to October 30.
Island Lake Campground Open to Visitor Open May 1 to September 30. Gated when closed.
Jewell Lake Campground Open to Visitor Open May 20 to September 6.
Jorgenson Angler Trail and Fishing Access Site Open to Visitor Year-round gate. Trail is not groomed.
Kneff Lake Campground Open to Visitor Open May 1 to September 30. Gated when closed.
Lake Michigan Recreation Area Open to Visitor Hemlock and Orchid Loop - Open May 9 to September 15 Oak and Violet Loop - Open May 9 to October 14.
Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary Open to Visitor This trail is not groomed.
Lower Branch Bridge Trail and Fishing Access Open to Visitor Managed season ends November 30. Trail is not groomed.
Luzerne Horse Trail Campground and Trailhead Open to Visitor Open May to September.  Gated when closed.
Mack Lake ORV Campground Open to Visitor Open May 19 to December 1.
Maple Leaf Angler Trail and Fishing Access Site Open to Visitor This site is maintained year-round. Trail is not groomed.
Marzinski Horse Trail and Campground Open to Visitor Campground open from May 15 to October 31.
McKinley Horse Trail Campground Open to Visitor Open May to September.  Gated when closed.
Meadow Springs Campground Open to Visitor Managed season is from April 15 to November 30.
Meadows ORV Campground Open to Visitor Open May 1 to November 30.
Midland to Mackinaw Trail Open to Visitor This trail is not groomed.
Minnie Pond Campground Open to Visitor Maintained from May 1 to September 30.
Monument Campground Open to Visitor Open May 15 to October 1
Nichols Lake South Campground Open to Visitor Open May 2 to September 22.
Old Grade Campground Open to Visitor Open April 26 to September 15.
Peterson Bridge South Campground Open to Visitor Open May 9 to September 15.
Pine Lake Campground Open to Visitor Open May 9 to October 14.
Pine River Campground Open to Visitor Closes November 20. Gated when closed.
Pines Point Open to Visitor Open May 9 to October 14.
Podunk River Access Open to Visitor Managed season is from April 15 to November 1.
Red Bridge River Access Site Open to Visitor Managed season is from May 15 to October 31.
River Dune Campground Open to Visitor Managed season is from April 15 to November 30.
River Road Trail Camp and Trailhead Open to Visitor Open May 15 to October 1.  Gated year-round.
Rollways Campground Open to Visitor Open May 19 to September . Gated when closed.
Rosebush Bend Angler Trail and Fishing Access Open to Visitor Maintenance ends September 30. Trail is not groomed.
Round Lake Campground and Day Use Area Open to Visitor Open May 15 to September 12.
Ruffed Grouse Walk Open to Visitor This trail is not groomed
Sand Lake Recreation Area Open to Visitor Open May 9 to September 15.
Sawdust Hole River Access Open to Visitor Managed season is from May 15 to October 31.
Seaton Creek Campground Open to Visitor Open May 9 to September 15.
Shelley Lake Campground Open to Visitor Maintained from May 1 to October 30.
South Branch Trail Campground and Trailhead Open to Visitor Open May 10 to September 15. Gated when closed.
Sulak Campground Open to Visitor This site is maintained year-round.
Timber Creek Campground Open to Visitor Maintained from May 1 to September 30.
Twinwood Lake Campground Open to Visitor Maintained from May 1 to October 30.
Wagner Lake Campground Open to Visitor Open May 1 to December 1. Chimney Loop open May 1 to September 30. Gated when closed.
Wakeley Lake Area Open to Visitor Trails are not groomed.
Walkup Lake Campground Open to Visitor Maintained from May 1 to October 30.

Spotlights

Huron NF OHV Trails

Mack Lake Campground

The Mack Lake and Meadows Trail Systems traverse the western portion of the Huron National Forest, creating a 158.6 mile trail with 13 trailheads.  Two campgrounds, both with trailheads in the campground, are located along this trail system, or visitors can choose one of the many other campgrounds around the forest and trailer their OHV's to one of the trailheads.  A reservation is not needed for these sites, all sites are first come, first served.

This trail is open to highway legal OHV's 50"  in width. 

The Bull Gap Hill Climb Area is also located in this area.  The hill climb is a sandy hill, 2/10's of a mile long at a 30 - 40% grade. 

The Huron ORV Trail is a 45.4 mile out and back trail located on the eastern portion of the Huron National Forest.  This trail has four trailheads and is located near Oscoda.  This trail is open to highway legal OHV's 50" in width.

A 30.8 mile stretch of the MCCCT is located in the western portion of the Huron National Forest.  This trail is open to highway legal vehicles 40" in width. 

Au Sable River

Au Sable National Scenic River - view from Highbanks

The Au Sable River area has been used as a trade and travel way by Native Americans for many generations.  Early French explorers referred to the river as “Riviere aux Sables,” or “River of Sand.”  In addition to providing transportation, the river corridor provided raw materials for the Great Lakes region’s fur industry and the river has carried millions of feet of timber downstream during the lumbering era to sawmills or waiting barges at ports on Lake Huron.  This period of intensive activity changed many characteristics of the river and it has taken many years and ongoing restoration efforts to help reduce erosion and to restore aquatic habitat along the river corridor. 

Today, six man-made impoundments on the Au Sable River contribute a significant component of Michigan’s hydroelectric power supply.   For more information visit the Working Together section of the website.

The Au Sable River is enjoyed by anglers for its world class trout fishing.  Paddlers enjoy the calm, but swift paddling of the river and the lake-like atmosphere below the impoundments.

To download the Au Sable River, National Scenic River, brochure, with map, visit the Maps and Publications section of the website or select this link: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5325280.pdf.  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. 

Pine National Scenic River

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: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5172185.pdf.  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.  

Pere Marquette River

Pere Marquette National Scenic River - near Bowman Bridge Day Use Area

The Pere Marquette National Scenic River  is a sixty-six mile stretch from the junction of the Middle and Little South Branches east of Baldwin to the Old Highway 31 Bridge. 

The Bowman Lake Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Area is 1,100 acres and has both the Pere Marquette and North Country National Scenic Trail going through it. 

Whelan Lake Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Area is a 2,800 acre area located near the south branch of the Pere Marquette River.

To download the Pere Marquette River, National Scenic River, brochure, with map, visit the Maps and Publications section of the website or select this link: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5180864.pdf.  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.