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Rifle River Recreation Area in Michigan

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

Looking for an easy one day, very quiet, excursion? The Rifle River Recreation Area contains ten secluded lakes, and many small streams.

There are no motors allowed on any of these lakes. Only Devoe and Grousehaven allow electric trolling motors. This day we decided to try kayaking on Lake Devoe, the largest of the lakes located in the Park.

The weather was perfect with clear skies and a nice breeze to keep the bugs off the water. The water in these lakes is so clear that one can see fish swimming up to 20 feet down. The Largemouth bass will sometimes follow along with your kayak as you slowly paddle along.

The scenery is beautiful, the lake was dead quiet, except for the occasional frog, or tree swallow. Once in a while we could hear a childs scream from the campground swimming area a mile away. But, it was never annoying.

Perhaps during the summer vacation period, the popularity of this place could keep it from being the relaxing quiet sanctuary as it was last Sunday. We saw four or five canoes with folks fishing along the drop offs and isolated bays. The lakes are famous for bass and three species of trout.

Lake Devoe also has an island in the center which was a great place to get out of the sun for a bit, and eat a quiet lunch under the cedar trees. We will definitely return, but with higher SPF sun block.

Rifle River Recreation area is a great place for easy and relaxing, kayaking.


Rifle River Recreation Area contains one modern campground with beach, boat launch, showers, etc.
There are 3 rustic campgrounds, all with pit toilets.
All the campsites have fire rings, and some have picnic tables.


Rifle River Recreation Area is a Michigan State Park. Therefore, a State Park annual, or day permit is required. Yearly permits are $24 and can be used at any Michigan State Park; the day permits are $7.
Camping cost varies depending on the campground facilities.
Rifle River Recreation Area signage states that there is a $4 boat launch fee. But, the Ranger told us that there is no fee for kayaks.


From Saginaw, MI take I-75 North to the M-33 exit (#202); then go north on M-33 about 20 minutes. Turn right on F-28 at the light in Rose City, and the entrance is 5 miles east.


There are several published books on Michigan State parks.

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water

Trip Location