Middle Branch Ontonagon River
Paddle rolling rapids and picturesque pools
Long before there were roads in the Northwoods, travelers used the Ontonagon River to explore the region. Today the Middle Branch Ontonogan River takes a new generation of explorers through the Ottawa National Forest. It’s a rare and special river that’s protected as part of the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System. Less than ¼ of 1 percent of the country’s rivers have this honor. It’s more than a title: it means that when you paddle this river, you’ll discover waters that are wild, beautiful and timeless.
You’ll find nine miles of paddling before Mex-i-min-e-falls and 11 additional miles that will take you all the way to the Bond Flowage. There are some moderate rapids and quiet pools for fishing. To get to the river from Land O’ Lakes, take Highway 45 north for 8.2 miles and cross Highway 2. Just before a bridge, you’ll see a parking area on the right. There are several points on the river where you can leave a pick-up vehicle, or you can rent canoes, kayaks or arrange for a pick-up at Sylvania Outfitters, which is located a mile west of Watersmeet on Highway 2.
Whatever stretch you decide to explore, you’ll find a river that offers miles of beautiful paddling possibilities.
Open spring, summer, fall seasons; closed in winter.