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Michigan dnr > wildlife viewing guide > northern lower peninsula > Rifle River

69 Rifle River Recreation Area Northern Lower Peninsula

wildlife viewing  |  directions and facility information

River and forest
Photo: © Dave Case

Water is a big attraction at Rifle River. There are more than ten miles of streams and river here, as well as 10 lakes and ponds. This site also showcases a wide variety of habitat types, including upland hardwood and pine forest, open grassland, lowland forest, cedar swamp, bog, marsh, and open water. Fourteen miles of hiking/biking trails begin at the campground; many of these trails are groomed for skiers.

Wildlife Viewing

river and forest in fall
Photo: © Dave Case

Excellent opportunity to view unique waterfowl at this site. The huge trumpeter swan, Michiganís largest bird, may be seen on any of the lakes. Trumpeters were released here by the Department of Natural Resources as a part of a reintroduction program. Loons usually nest on Grebe Lake in the spring. Please view both of these rare birds from a distance and do not disturb them, especially during breeding season. A scenic overlook from the Lodge Hill will delight viewers with a birdís eye view of the area. In May, the trail offers wonderful wildflower viewing. Look for Indian paintbrush, cardinal flower, several types of ladyís slippers, and others. Stop at the headquarters for maps and other information.

viewing bridge
Photo: © Dave Case
Portions of this area are open to public hunting. Contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for hunting seasons and locations.

view of river through the forest
Photo: © Dave Case


From Rose City, drive east on F-28 (Rose City Road) about 5 miles to the site entrance on the right (south) side of the road.

Ownership: Michigan Department of Natural Resources (989) 473-2258

Size: 4,500 acres

Closest Town: Rose City

Weather and Driving Directions for Rose City

Plan Your Trip with travel.michigan.org!

More information can be found by visiting the DNR's site (link leads to web app allowing users to search for campgrounds, harbors, trails and more), or by conducting a Google search:


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