Check out the radio spot created for The Wilds of Michigan - Pure Michigan Partnership.



Within The Wilds of Michigan extremes in elevations can grab the visitors’ attention; but with closer inspection the wonder and awe of it all can be found on placid inland lakes, meandering rivers, and gentle streams. Paddling in the Wilds brings a unique perspective of nature and peace to the soul.

Black River
Paddle the Ottawa National Forest’s Black River and enjoy more than 9 miles of lush forest land. . Spring runoff creates high water flow in May and June offering paddlers the chance to run Class I and II rapids. Overnight along the river’s edge or taker a short day paddle Numerous access points on the river give paddles many options to put in. Paddlers can reach the area at Blackjack Mountain Parking Area, Moore Street, and Hedberg Road.

Presque Isle River

The slow moving water of Presque Isle River offers a chance for novice paddlers to take to the backwoods like an expert. Drop in off Forest Road 8100 and begin the 17 mile journey. With every changing season the river flows differently. May and June’s spring runoff will yield higher flowing water along the River. Summer offers up a gentle flow. Class I and II rapids appear near M-28. Further south, paddlers will find themselves taking on Class II, III, and even some IV rapids. Portaging is required near South Boundary Road. Why not overnight and bring a fishing pole! Brook trout, walleye, pike, steelhead salmon can be found at the mouth below Manabezho Falls.

West Branch Presque Isle River

Stretching across 7.8 miles through untamed forests, the west branch of Presque Isle River is ideal for paddlers searching for a relaxing day in the wilderness. Slow moving waters beckon paddles to enjoy a day in the summer sun of The Wilds of Michigan. The Presque Isle is surrounded by spruce, fir, and aspen with hardwoods standing tall atop ridges. The river can be reached at teal canoe landing on Forest Service Road 8100.

Ontonagon River
Enjoy a scenic paddle on the high waters of the Ontonagon River. Surrounded by heavily forested steep banks rising nearly 200 feet above the water’s surface, this 24 mile stretch offers showcases nature at its best. Dedicated and novice paddlers alike will be happy to find Class I and II rapids. If camping is part of your itinerary take the fishing pole for down time. Brook, rainbow, and steelhead trout, northern, and walleye abound. The river can be accessed on US-45 at the Military Hill bridge where ample parking is available.

East Branch Ontonagon River
Looking for a bit more adventure? Try the East Branch Ontonagon River. April and June, when the water levels are at a higher flow provide paddles access to Class I, II, III, and IV rapids. Marsh meadows and upland hardwoods offer ever-changing scenery along the river. Heavy vegetation, down trees, and beaver dams at the southern portion of the river prevent paddling so target the northern most portions of the river for your paddling pleasure. The river can be accessed at the bridge on Forest Road 1180. For further information contact Sylvania Outfitters in Watersmeet, MI.

South Branch Ontonagon River
Whether paddlers are searching for a relaxing weekend paddling from camp site to camp site or ready to push their limits, this long river offers both. Fairly wide and slow moving, the Ontonagon River stretches 25.3 miles across The Wilds of Michigan cutting through farmland and forest alike. Any paddler can navigate most of this river with Class I-II rapids. However, beginners should avoid entering near the reservoir where turbulence is present and results in class II-III rapids. You can access the river at the bridge on M-28 in Ewen and will end at Victoria Dam.