Au Sable River - Alcona Dam to Lake Huron


Area Status: Open

Au Sable River

This section provides motorboat opportunities with a lake fishing atmosphere. Its flow of water still serves as an important link in the production of the state's electrical power supply.

Brochure with map:

  • River Road National Scenic Byway (pdf) - this brochure shows River Road, the Au Sable River and Lumberman's Monument
  • Highbanks River Trail Map (coming soon)
  • Eagle Run Trail Map (coming soon)

The 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. The trail maps are set to printon 8.5x11 paper.

Flickr Photo Albums:

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless otherwise posted.
Rentals & Guides: Canoe Rentals -
  • Glennie:
    • Alcona Canoe Rental
  • Hale:
    • Rollways Resort
  • Mio:
    • Gotts Landing
    • Hinchman's Acres Resort
  • Oscoda:
    • Au Sable River Kayaking Company LLC; B & B LLC (Hunts)
    • Oscoda Canoe Rental
Fees: Recreation Enhancement Act Fee - Day Use -
  • Pine Acres Boat Launch
  • Sawmill Point Boat Launch
  • Thompsons Landing River Access
  • Whirlpool Angler Access
Camping -
  • Au Sable River Primitive Camping
Permit Info: 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).
Visit the Passes and Permits section for more information on obtaining a special use permit.
Usage: Light
Restrictions: As a visitor to the National Forest, you are asked to follow certain rules designed to protect the Forest, natural resources and to provide for public safety of visitors. These rules are available to you on-line or at any office of the Huron-Manistee National Forests. Please take time to read and understand them. General Topic orders apply across the Forests. Applicable Orders -
  • Au Sable River and Cooke Pond Semi-primitive Motorized Areas, shorelines of Alcona Pond and the Eable Run Trail System; R904-14-21
  • Motorized Vehicle Use of Roads, Trails and Off-road Areas; R904-14-02
  • Occupancy and Use; R904-14-03
Highlights - Camping is prohibited, except at designated campgrounds or campsites.
Closest Towns: Glennie, Mikado, Oscoda, Hale, Mio
Operated By: Huron Shores Ranger Station - (989) 739-0728
Information Center:

General Information

Directions:

This section of the river runs from 4001 Canoe Landing to Lake Huron.  For directions to a particular site, please visit that sites page.


General Notes:

County - Oscoda, Iosco


Parking:

Parking is available at all sites.


Parking:

Au Sable River Primitive Camping

  • 2 vehicles per site

Au Sable Vista

  • 10 vehicle capacity

Pine Acres Boat Launch

  • 29 vehicle capacity

Sawmill Point Boat Launch

  • 10 vehicle capacity

Thompson's Landing Boat Launch

  • 10 vehicle capacity

Whirlpool Angler Access

  • 6 vehicle capactiy, with trailers

Accessibility:

Au Sable River Primitive Camping

  • Some sites are boat-in/walk-in only.
  • Some sites a high clearance vehicle is recommended to access them.
  • Sites are hard-packed dirt.

Au Sable Vista

  • Paved parking
  • Paved/Accessible sidewalk
  • Wooden/Accessible observation deck
  • Accessible restrooms.

Pine Acres Boat Launch

  • Gravel boat ramp
  • Gravel parking lot
  • Accessible Restroom

Sawmill Point Boat Launch

  • Gravel boat ramp
  • Gravel parking lot
  • Accessible restroom

Thompson's Landing Boat Launch

  • Stairs to river
  • Accessible restroom

Whirlpool Angler Access

  • Accessible fishing ramp
  • Paved parking
  • Boardwalk to river
  • Accessible restroom

Directions:

Au Sable River Primitive Camping

  • Alcona Pond - located approximately 6 miles west of Glennie and 10 miles southeast of McKinley.
  • Au Sable Area - Between Alcona Dam and Loud Pond, access is at Alcona Dam, Thompson's Landing or Loud Dam.
  • Loud Pond - located 20 miles west of Oscoda/Au Sable and 18 miles northwest of Tawas/East Tawas. The access is located at Loud Dam.
  • Five Channels - located approximately 19-miles west of Oscoda/Au Sable and 16-miles northwest of Tawas/East Tawas between Bissonette Road and River Road. The access is at Five Channels Dam. Cooke Pond - located 15 miles west of Oscoda/Au Sable and 14 miles northwest of Tawas/East Tawas between Bissonette Road and River Road. Access is at Pine Acres, Sawmill Point and Cooke Dam.
  • Sawmill Point - Located 15 miles west of Oscoda on River Rod. Turn north on Cooke Dam Rd.
  • Foote Pond - located approximately 7 miles west of Oscoda/Au Sable and 14 miles northwest of Tawas/East Tawas between Bissonette and River Roads. Access at Cooke Dam, Foote Site Park.
  • Lower Au Sable Primitive Camping - located on the east stretch of the Au Sable River, west of Oscoda/Au Sable. Access is at Foote Dam or Whirlpool Angler Access.

Au Sable Vista

From Oscoda -

  • Travel north on F41 for 14 miles.
  • Turn left and travel west on F30 for 16.5 miles.
  • Turn right and travel north on Bamfield Rd. for 3 miles.
  • Turn left on FR 4949 to enter the overlook.

Pine Acres Boat Launch

From West Branch -

  • Travel east on M-55 for 20.9 miles.
  • Turn left and travel north on MI-65 for 19 miles.
  • Turn right and travel east on Pine Acres Rd. for .1 mile.
  • Turn left and travel north on FR 2210 for .5 miles.

Sawmill Point Boat Launch

From Oscoda -

  • Travel west on E. River Rd. for 14 miles.
  • Turn right and travel north on Cooke Dam Rd. for 1.25 miles.
  • Turn left and travel west on FR 2088 for .25 miles.
  • Take right fork onto FR 2087 and drive to entrance.

Thompson's Landing Boat Launch

From West Branch -

  • Travel west on W. Houghton Ave/I-75 BR/MI-55/MI-76 for .7 miles.
  • Turn left and travel west on M-55 for 20.9 miles.
  • Turn left and travel north on MI-65 for 14 miles.
  • Turn left and travel west on Rollways Rd. for 3 miles.
  • Turn right and travel north on Curtisville Rd. for .75 miles.
  • Turn right and travel east on FR 4341 for .5 miles.

Whirlpool Angler Access

From Oscoda -

  • Travel west on River Rd. for 3 miles.
  • Turn right and travel north on FR 4581 for .5 miles.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

Camping along the Au Sable is permited at designated sites only. Campsites between Grayling and Mio are operated by the MDNRE. From Mio to 4001 Bridge, there are several canoe-in/walk-in sites and two developed campgrounds. No reservations are necessary. From 4001 Bridge to Oscoda, reservations are required between May 15 and Sept. 30. There is a $10/night campping fee and a one-time registration fee of $9. Visit www.recreation.gov for information.
 

Some sites in the Au Sable River Primitive camping are only acessible by river or by foot.  Visitors can access most Au Sable River Primtive Camping sites, Monument Campground and Rollways Campground by vehicle.   

RV Camping

Recreation areas with activity RV Camping:

Camping along the Au Sable is permited at designated sites only. Campsites between Grayling and Mio are operated by the MDNRE. From Mio to 4001 Bridge, there are several canoe-in/walk-in sites and two developed campgrounds. No reservations are necessary. From 4001 Bridge to Oscoda, reservations are required between May 15 and Sept. 30. There is a $10/night campping fee and a one-time registration fee of $9. Visit www.recreation.gov for information.
 

Some sites in the Au Sable River Primitive camping are only acessible by river or by foot.  Visitors can access most Au Sable River Primtive Camping sites, Monument Campground and Rollways Campground by vehicle.   

Lake and Pond Fishing

Recreation areas with activity Lake and Pond Fishing:

On the lower section of the Au Sable River (4001 Canoe Landing to Lake Huron), the many impoundments create a lake-like atmosphere for fishing.
 

The Au Sable River is a prime cold-water fish habitat, with salmon and steelhead runs the most popular time with anglers. The lakes range from warm to cold with a variety of fish plentiful in fall and spring. Panfish such as sunfish, perch and crappie are the most soughtafter fish on the forest, and trout fishing is popular in many forest rivers and streams. Bass fishing on the many lakes is also popular. The forest adheres to State licensing regulations, including size and quantity limits.

Fishing Mode Boat, Shore, Wade
Fish Species Bass, Pike, Brown Trout, Walleye, Perch, Sunfish, Steelhead, Salmon
Fishing Platform No
Cleaning Station No
Water Temperature Cold
Accessible Platform No
Fishing Method Fly, Pole
Water/Flow Level 2 mph 

River and Stream Fishing

Recreation areas with activity River and Stream Fishing:

Whirlpool - paved fishing accessOn the lower section of the Au Sable River (4001 Canoe Landing to Lake Huron), the many impoundments create a lake-like atmosphere for fishing.
 

The Au Sable River is a prime cold-water fish habitat, with salmon and steelhead runs the most popular time with anglers. The lakes range from warm to cold with a variety of fish plentiful in fall and spring. Panfish such as sunfish, perch and crappie are the most soughtafter fish on the forest, and trout fishing is popular in many forest rivers and streams. Bass fishing on the many lakes is also popular. The forest adheres to State licensing regulations, including size and quantity limits.

Fishing Mode Boat, Shore, Wade
Fish Species Bass, Pike, Brown Trout, Walleye, Perch, Sunfish, Steelhead, Salmon
Fishing Platform No
Cleaning Station No
Water Temperature Cold
Accessible Platform No
Fishing Method Fly, Pole
Water/Flow Level 2 mph

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

Both the Highbanks River Trail and Eagle Run Cross-country Ski and Hiking trail are located near the lower stretch of the Au Sable River (4001 Canoe Landing to Lake Huron).
 

Highbanks River Trail runs along the Au Sable River and provides visitors several scenic views of the river and surrounding river valley.  This trail access many of the recreation sites along the river, including Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center.
 

Eagle Run Cross-country Ski and Hiking Trail provides a loop trail system with scenic views of the Au Sable River and a quiet setting where visitors can enjoy nature firsthand.  

General Info:

Directions

This section of the river runs from 4001 Canoe Landing to Lake Huron.  For directions to a particular site, please visit that sites page.


General Notes

County - Oscoda, Iosco


Parking

Parking is available at all sites.


Viewing Scenery

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Scenery:

Visitors can enjoy views of the Au Sable River from a variety of locations along the river.  Several sites have stairs that lead down to the river for those wishing to take a closer look!

Picnicking

Recreation areas with activity Picnicking:

While you can picnic almost anywhere on the National Forest, the sites listed below have picnic tables, and most sites have pedestal grills or fire rings available.

Boating - Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Motorized:

Motorized boating is allowed on the impoundments of the Au Sable River.  Motorized boating is not recommended on the Wild and Scenic Section of the river, from Mio Pond to Alcona Dam. The 54 miles of river from Alcona Dam to Lake Huron create a lake-like atmosphere, but narrow stretches from Alcona Dam to Loud Pond and the lower Au Sable below Foote Dam are perfect for canoes and kayaks.

Trailer Parking Yes
Class of rapids 0
Size Restrictions 0 - 25 Feet
Type of Craft Fishing Boats, Bass Boats, Dinghies, Electric Boats, Flat Boats, Jon Boats
Motor Type Gas, Electric
Fuel availability No
Water/Flow Level 2 mph
Marina/Mooring No

Boating - Non-Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Non-Motorized:

Whirlpool - paddlers at boat launchMotorized boating is allowed on the impoundments of the Au Sable River.  No motorized boating is allowed on the Wild and Scenic Section of the river, from Mio Pond to Alcona Dam. The 54 miles of river from Alcona Dam to Lake Huron create a lake-like atmosphere, but narrow stretches from Alcona Dam to Loud Pond and the lower Au Sable below Foote Dam are perfect for canoes and kayaks.

Trailer Parking Yes
Class of rapids 0
Size Restrictions None
Type of Craft Canoe, Kayak
Water/Flow Level 2 mph

Tubing

Recreation areas with activity Tubing:

Motorized boating is allowed on the impoundments of the Au Sable River.  No motorized boating is allowed on the Wild and Scenic Section of the river, from Mio Pond to Alcona Dam. The 54 miles of river from Alcona Dam to Lake Huron create a lake-like atmosphere, but narrow stretches from Alcona Dam to Loud Pond and the lower Au Sable below Foote Dam are perfect for canoes and kayaks.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Area/Length : 
54 miles