With September approaching, we find ourselves in the “dog days of summer” and with that, warm weather, warm water, and few weekends remain before Friday Night Lights, Football Season and snow blowing begin.

Soak up all that summer has left to offer by taking to one of the Cadillac Area’s two magnificent rivers. The Big Manistee River, a wide, smooth flowing river with many great places to get out and enjoy picnics, camping, and rope swings; or give the Pine River a try, more narrow, swift and a true challenge.

One of the most frequently asked questions about the rivers are what do you pack and how do you prepare for your river trip? We are here to take you through the motions so you know what to prepare for your final day on the water and which spots you should consider.

1 Day Float:

The following items only pertain to you if you are NOT renting from one of our local canoe liveries (see complete list below)

  • Your Boat (raft, kayak, tube, canoe)
  • Life Jacket/PFD (one per person/watercraft)
  • Paddle/Oar and 1 spare/boat

The following items pertain to anyone on the water whether you have your own boat, or are renting.

  • Dry Bag, or waterproof bags for storing electronics/items needing to stay dry (remember hatches are not always waterproof/water tight)
  • Small First Aid kit with the basics (band aids, gauze, ointment, include anti-itch ointment, poison ivy/oak can pop up if you plan to do any hikes onshore)
  • Bungee cords (unless you have them on your boat)
  • Sunscreen/lotion
  • Mesh garbage bag for trash
  • Cooler and ice (No glass bottles)
  • Toilet Paper (A must for long trips!)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Change of dry clothes (NO Cotton) in your dry bag (including rain gear… Remember, we live in Michigan!)
  • Multi-tool
  • Umbrella
  • Beach Towels/Blanket
  • Water/Hydration
  • River Shoes
  • Waterproof case for your phone/camera
  • Sun Hat/Shade Device
  • Water Toys
  • River Permit (only applicable to the Pine River Memorial Day to Labor Day Weekend on the Pine River – Livery will have permits as part of rental)

Great 1 day trips:

For those looking for 1 day trips, we recommend seeking the advice of our liveries, they have single and multi-day floats down to a science and they are your best bet to finding your perfect trip.

For the “do-it-yourself” trippers, there are few trips you will certainly want to try:

Big Manistee River: – Download Map

Harvey Bridge to Glengary Bridge. This is a great 3-4 hour float depending on how quickly you want to make it, and is a great short trip. If you are looking for more seclusion on the river, try Baxter Bridge down to Harvey Bridge. This is a great full day on the river and you will certainly experience the beauty of the Big Manistee River. This float will take you about 5-6 hours.

Pine River: – Download Map

The Pine River has so many great access points and they are all fairly close together, so you can really do a lot in one day and customize your trip accordingly. One of the most popular trip, because it takes you on the Pine River white water (really moving during the early season thaw) is Peterson down to Low Bridge or Norman Dixon. That will be about a 4 hour float in all.