The Pere Marquette River is considered to be Michigan's clearest and cleanest free flowing river. Offering you new opportunities around each bend to enjoy the wildlife and peaceful beauty of Northern Michigan.  The Pere Marquette River is a great canoeing river for the beginner to intermediate paddler.

The Pere Marquette's current is steady, moderately fast, but not considered difficult during normal water levels for paddlers with few to basic skills. The river follows a winding course through a mixture of national, state, and private forests.

 Pere MarquetteRiver
The average depth of the Pere Marquette River is between two and four feet, with deeper holes on the bends. The average width is between thirty and forty feet.

The most popular part of the Pere Marquette to paddle is the first twelve hours of the river, ending at Walhalla. In this twelve hour portion of the river there are several trips available ranging from three hours up to three days.


The Forest Service permit system serves to regulate the number of watercraft on the river.  Numbers are spread equally in three sections of the river.  Each section is approximately 4 hours of paddle time.  Several access sites are used for put in and take out.  Extended trips are available continuing on to Scottvile, Ludington and Lake Michigan

**Private Watercraft Permits may be reserved for the Pere Marquette River by calling the U.S. Forest Service at 1231-745-4631

Permit System

The Pere Marquette River is one of only two rivers in Michigan that have daily watercraft limits which are enforced by the U.S. Forest Service. This is done through a permit system.

Baldwin Canoe Rental is a commercial permit holder, which allows us to use the Forest Service access sites for commercial watercraft use. If you are renting your watercraft from Baldwin Canoe rental, the permit is included with rental. If you have your own personal watercraft you must acquire a permit from the Forest Service. For more info visit Have Your Own Watercraft page. 


Permits are required from M-37 Bridge to Indian Bridge, which is approx. 14 hours of paddle time.  There are three sections of river within this stretch.  Each section is approx. 4 hrs. of paddle time.

Section #1
    • M37 Bridge to Bowman Bridge

Section #2
Bowman Bridge to Upper Branch Bridge

Section #3
Upper Branch Bridge to Walhalla Bridge


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