Michigan State Parks: Menominee River State Recreation Area

Menominee River State Recreation Area is around 10,000 acres of undeveloped forest bordering 17 miles of the Menominee River in the Upper Peninsula.

What makes this state park completely different than other Michigan state parks is that it is jointly owned by Michigan and Wisconsin.

Menominee River State Recreation Area straddles the Menominee River, which happens to be the border between the two states. Together, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources manage the land.  

Where exactly is Menominee State Recreation Area?

Trying to navigate to Menominee State Recreation Area and find the entrance can be a bit difficult.

Rocky trail in the woods

Menominee State Recreation Area is divided into three units: Piers Gorge Unit in the north, Quiver Falls Unit, and Pemene Falls Unit in the south. As of 2019, Piers Gorge is the only unit that is semi-developed with a ranger contact station, vault toilets, and designated parking area. You’ll need to type in Piers Gorge Road on your GPS or map program to help find the right spot.

The closest town is the booming metropolis of Norway, a city of around 2,800 people.

Whitewater rafting and more!

The main activities are hiking and watersports since most of the land is undeveloped at Menominee State Recreation Area.

The Menominee River is fairly fast-flowing with significant gorges and Class III rapids. Other areas are wide open and smooth. It is ideal for both kayaking and whitewater rafting (in different sections of course!)

Woman standing on a log in a river

A 2-mile trail follows the riverbank for several miles from the Piers Gorge parking area, with overlooks of the rapids. Many locals were enjoying the trails, scrambling over the rocks, and enjoying picnics by the water’s edge when we visited.

Group of whitewater rafters in the rapids

Local whitewater rafting companies operate excursions during the summer and the groups we saw were having a blast. While we were there, we did watch a lone, and clearly well-experienced, kayaker navigate the rapids in a special kayak. This was quite impressive as the rapids would flip him upside down and he would do a 180 roll underwater to right himself.

Much of the land is open to hunting and fishing as well.

On the Wisconsin side, a few additional overlooks are accessible, as well as established backcountry camping, picnic areas, and portages. Check out their website for more details. Note, you cannot directly access the Wisconsin side of the park from the Michigan side.

Anything else nearby?

If you’ve made the trip to Menominee State Recreation Area, you might as well check out the surrounding area.

Make sure you stop and visit the city’s most famous attraction – Norway Spring. It is an artesian well, a result of an old mining operation, where you can get a drink and fill your water bottles. Parking and picnic tables are available.

Norway has many other recreational activities such as golfing, ORVing, hiking, skiing, and more. And if you’re a Star Trek fan, right down the road you’ll find the community of Vulcan! OK, so it was named for a Roman God, but it’s also home to the Iron Mountain Iron Mine, a local attraction.)

We have plenty more adventures to come, so subscribe to this blog and our YouTube channel. We have a video about Menominee State Recreation Area here. You can follow us on Instagram, our Facebook page, and Twitter. Plus, you can see our progress as we visit each park on this interactive Google Map. You also can keep track of our activities on social media with the hashtags #hikecampgo and #mistateparks100.

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