Pere Marquette River
Exact Location:
Lake County- North Country Trail crossing on South Branch Road at Upper Branch Bridge.
Pere Marquette River
Looking downstream from Upper Branch Bridge on the Pere Marquette River, NCT crossing (photo by jhy)

The main branch of the Pere Marquette River is 67 miles long and begins south of Baldwin where the Middle Branch and Little South Branch of the Pere Marquette join. The watershed drains 740 square miles in Lake, Newaygo, Mason and Oceana Counties, half of which is Lake County. It is the longest river in the Lower Peninsula with no dams or impoundments. It is canoeable over its entire length.

Designated as a National Wild and Scenic river from The Forks (where the main branch rises) to Custer Bridge, quotaed permits are required for watercraft of all types, including tubes, and hours are restricted.

Camping within the river corridor is allowed only at designated sites. 12 Sulak Road Campsites are just off trail east of the trail crossing. Elk Campground is walk-in or paddle-in only, and is about a half mile west (downstream) of Upper Branch Bridge.

Pere Marquette River map
Pere Marquette River map. Upper Branch Bridge on S. Branch Road marked by red star. (map public domain Creative Commons CC0 license)

Known as a premier trout stream for both brook trout and brown trout, the Pere Marquette is also popular for catching steelhead, salmon, sucker, and pike.

Also see:
Upper Branch Bridge
Elk Campground

Michigan DNR
personal experience
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The North Country National Scenic Trail is 4800 miles long, spanning eight states. For more information, visit the North Country Trail Association