Pine National Scenic River


Area Status: Open

Pine National Scenic 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. It is a designated "Blue Ribbon" cold-water trout stream, with fishing being the second most popular activity on the river. The Pine River has 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.

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

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At a Glance

Operational Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless otherwise posted.
Rentals & Guides: Watercraft Rentals
  • Wellston
    • Pine River Paddlesport Center
    • Horina's Canoe and Kayak
    • Sportsman's Port
    • Bosman's Canoe Rental
Area Amenities: Boat ramp
Fees: Recreation Enhancement Act Fee - Watercraft Permits 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 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
Best Season: Memorial Day to Labor Day
Busiest Season: Memorial Day to Labor Day
Restrictions: The following 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 
  • 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
  • Pine National Scenic River Corridor; R904-14-12
Highlights - Camping is prohibited, except at designated campgrounds or campsites.
Closest Towns: Dublin, Wellston
Operated By: Cadillac/Manistee Ranger District - (231) 848-7090
Information Center:

General Information

General Notes:

Location - Pere Marquette State Forest to junction with Manistee River

Setting - Primitive

County - Lake, Manistee, Wexford

Seasonal and Other Information -

  • Peterson Bridge Campground is gated when closed.
  • River access sites are not gated when closed.
  • River access sites are not maintained in winter:
    • Access roads and/or parking lots are not plowed,
    • no water and/or toilet facilities are available.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Sand Play

Along the river there is a sandy beach and boat landing area where visitors can enjoy the beachlike experience along a fresh-water river.  Please keep in mind that there is no lifeguard and that the water is cold. 

Areas for Sand Play at Pine National Scenic River

Campground Camping

Camping is allowed only at Peterson Bridge South Campground.  Reservations are recommended but not required. 

Areas for Campground Camping at Pine National Scenic River

RV Camping

Areas for RV Camping at Pine National Scenic River

Lake and Pond Fishing

There is a small pond located at Peterson Bridge North next to the river.

Fish Species Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Fishing Mode Shore, Wade
Fishing Platform No
Water Temperature Cold
Fishing Method Fly, Pole

Areas for Lake and Pond Fishing at Pine National Scenic River

River and Stream Fishing

The Pine River is a designated "Blue Ribbon" cold-water trout stream, with fishing being the second most popular activity on the river. Fish species include brook, brown and rainbow trout.

Fishing Mode Boat, Shore, Wade
Special Designations
  • National Scenic River
  • Blue Ribbon Cold-water Trout Stream
Fish Species Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Fishing Platform No
Cleaning Station No
Water Temperature Cold
Accessible Platform No
Fishing Method Fly, Pole
Water/Flow Level Fast

Areas for River and Stream Fishing at Pine National Scenic River

Picnicking

Picnicking is a popular activity that is permitted anywhere on the National Forests.  The sites listed below have picnic areas with tables or shelters that are available for visitors to use.  Some sites have pedestal grills, beaches or other amenities.

Areas for Picnicking at Pine National Scenic River

Group Picnicking

Picnicking is a popular activity that is permitted anywhere on the National Forests.  The sites listed below have picnic areas with tables or shelters that are available for visitors to use.  Some sites have pedestal grills, beaches or other amenities.

Areas for Group Picnicking at Pine National Scenic River

Boating - Non-Motorized

 

 

Float Times and Distances -

Lincoln Bridge to Elm Flats: 1.25 hours; 3.3 miles

Elm Flats to Dobson Bridge: 2 hours; 6.3 miles

Dobson Bridge to Peterson Bridge Day Use: 2 hours; 6.2 miles

Peterson Bridge Day Use to Low Bridge: 3 hours; 8 miles

 

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.

Trailer Parking Yes
Type of Craft Canoe, Kayak, Ponton, Raft, Driftboat
Size Restrictions None
Class of Rapids 1 - 2
Fuel availability No
Water/Flow Level Fast
Marina/Mooring No

Areas for Boating - Non-Motorized at Pine National Scenic River

Amenities

Boat ramp: Wood, Gravel

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Area/Length : 
16 miles