Pere Marquette National Scenic River


Area Status: Open

Pere Marquette National Scenic RiverIn July 1978 the Pere Marquette River and its major tributaries were designated a Michigan Natural River by the State of Michigan. This same year the river was added as a National Wild and Scenic River, the first in Michigan.  The scenic portion of the 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 Natural River designation includes the main stem and major tributaries.

Brochure with Map: 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.

Flickr Photo Album

Click here for additional information on our Wild and Scenic Rivers.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless otherwise posted. River quiet hours on the National Scenic River are 6 p.m. to 9 a.m.
Rentals & Guides: Watercraft Rentals
  • Baldwin Canoe Rental
Area Amenities: Boat ramp
Fees: Watercraft Permits Reservations are required.  Visit the Passes and Permits section for more information. Day Use Fees are required for Day Use at the following areas:
  • Bowman Bridge River Access
  • Clabybanks
  • Gleason's Landing River Access
  • Green Cottage
  • Indian Bridge
  • Maple Leaf Trial and Fishing Access
  • Rainbow Rapids
  • Upper Branch Bridge Landing
Camping The following areas require camping fees:
  • Clabyanks
  • Bowman Bridge Campground
  • Gleason's Landing Campground
Permit Info: Watercraft Permit 
  • Required Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend.
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: Heavy
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.  Please take time to read and understand them. General Topic orders apply across the Forests. Applicable Orders
  • Motorized Vehicle Use of Roads, Trails and Off-road Areas; R904-14-02
  • Occupancy and Use - Developed Recreation Areas, Dispersed Areas, Being Publicly Nude, Marine Prohibitions, Parking and Sanitation; R904-14-03
  • Pere Marquette National Scenic River Corridor; R904-14-14
Highlights - Camping is prohibited, except at designated campgrounds or campsites.
Closest Towns: Baldwin, Branch, Walhalla, Custer, Scottville
Operated By: Baldwin White Cloud Ranger District - (231) 745-4631
Information Center: Baldwin/White Cloud Ranger Station

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

Bowman Bridge - Located up the hill from Bowman Bridge Boat Landing, the campground also has a connector trail for the North Country National Scenic Trail. There are 16 campsites.

Claybanks Campground - This river access is on the flies only, catch and release portion of the river. There are nine campsites.

Elk Canoe Campground - This campground is located in the middle of the 66-mile Scenic portion of the river. There are four walk-in/canoe-in sites.

Gleason's Landing - This small, walk-in campground tends to be quiet despite its popularity. There are four campsites.

Sulak Campground - This site is primarily used by anglers, hunters and families for camping. There is a short, .25 mile walk from the campsites to the river, through federal and state land. The river access is operated by the MI-DNRE. There are 12 campsites.

RV Camping

Recreation areas with activity RV Camping:

Bowman Bridge - Located up the hill from Bowman Bridge Boat Landing, the campground also has a connector trail for the North Country National Scenic Trail. There are 16 campsites.

Claybanks Campground - This river access is on the flies only, catch and release portion of the river. There are nine campsites.

Sulak Campground - This site is primarily used by anglers, hunters and families for camping. There is a short, .25 mile walk from the campsites to the river, through federal and state land. The river access is operated by the MI-DNRE. There are 12 campsites.

Group Camping

Recreation areas with activity Group Camping:

Bowman Bridge - Located up the hill from Bowman Bridge Boat Landing, the campground also has a connector trail for the North Country National Scenic Trail. There are four group sites.

Gleason's Landing - This small, walk-in campground tends to be quiet despite its popularity. There are two group sites.

River and Stream Fishing

Recreation areas with activity River and Stream Fishing:

The Pere Marquette is famous as a blue ribbon trout stream, and is nationally known for its steelhead and salmon fisheries.  From M-37 to Gleason’s Landing the State of Michigan has designated the river as quality fishing water requiring “no kill, catch and release with flies only”. 

Fishing Mode Boat, Shore, Wade
Special Designations
  • National Scenic River
  • Flies Only, Catch and Release No Kill sections
  • Blue Ribbon Trout Stream
Fish Species Salmon, Steelhead, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Fishing Platform No
Cleaning Station No
Water Temperature Cool to Cold
Accessible Platform No
Fishing Method Fly, Pole
Water/Flow Level 713 cubic feet per second

Picnicking

Recreation areas with activity Picnicking:

Group Picnicking

Recreation areas with activity Group Picnicking:

Boating - Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Motorized:

No motors are permitted upstream of Indian Bridge.  This is the only motorized boat access operated by the Forest Service on the Pere Marquette. 

Launch Ramps Gravel
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 n/a
Marina/Mooring No

Boating - Non-Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Non-Motorized:

Sections of the river have consolidated clay soils that are highly resistant to erosion and create riffles below them. The gradient of the river is 4.1 feet per mile with a flow of 713 cubic feet per second. The river wanders gently across the central Michigan landscape, alternately hidden in the forested shadows of overhanging bluffs and stretched across the convoluted channel patters of grassy floodplains. Free flowing and clear for over 60-miles from the junction of the Middle and South Branches to its terminus in Lake Pere Marquette, the river is the longest river system in Michigan's Lower Peninsula without dams or impoundments.  Regionally the Pere Marquette is recognized as a quality canoe and kayaking river. 

Within the Forest’s boundary, the river has been divided into three (3) sections for nonmotorized boating:

  • Forks to Bowman Bridge
  • Bowman Bridge to Upper Branch Bridge
  • Upper Branch Bridge to Walhalla Bridge

For more information on the MI-DNRE access sites, visit the MI-DNRE website.

Float Times –

M-37 to Green Cottage

  • Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Miles: 3.7

Green Cottage to Gleason’s Landing

  • Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Miles: 4.7

Gleason’s Landing River Access to Bowman Bridge River Access

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Miles: 2.6

Bowman Bridge River Access to Rainbow Rapids River Access

  • Time: 2 hours
  • Miles: 7.3

Rainbow Rapids River Access to Sulak State River Access

  • Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Miles: 3.1

Sulak State River Access to Upper Branch Bridge Landing

  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Miles: 2.7

Upper Branch Bridge Landing to Elk Campground

  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Miles: .5

Elk Campground to Lower Branch Angler Trail

  • Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Miles: 2.6

Lower Branch Angler Access to Log Mark Angler Access

  • Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Miles: 2.7

Log Mark Angler Access to Walhalla Bridge State River Access

  • Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Miles: 4.8

Walhalla Bridge State River Access to Indian Bridge River Access

  • Time: 3 hours
  • Miles: 5.5

Indian Bridge River Access to Custer

  • Time: 2 hours
  • Miles: 2.4

 

Trailer Parking Yes
Class of rapids 0
Size Restrictions None
Type of Craft Canoe, Kayak, Drift Boat
Fuel availability No
Water/Flow Level 713 cubic feet per second
Marina/Mooring No

Amenities

Boat ramp: Gravel, Cement

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Area/Length : 
66 Miles