your paddlesports destination

Two Hearted River in Michigan

Trip Overview

Left the Sault Friday night, after work, with my family and a few coworkers and drove about an hour and a half to the Perch Lake campground, north of Newberry. Nice quite secluded place to camp, this Perch Lake, as well as canoe about. Looks to be a good fishing lake for bass, bluegill, and perch, or so I've read, though unfortunately I did not get a chance to throw a line in and find out for myself this time.

Anyways, Saturday morning the children woke my wife and I early in the morning and after breakfast and the others in our group emerged from their tents and ate we started off for the Rainbow Lodge. On the map it looks to be a short drive from Perch Lake but takes longer due to the dirt/gravel roads, which, when dry, kick up a lot of dust! We arrived and the others went in and rented a couple of canoes for the 4-6 hour trip at a cost of $40 per canoe. At those prices I'm glad I have my own canoe these days. After they found someone to drive the others to the Reed and Green Bridge put-in, I sped off to beat them there so I could get my canoe off my Durango and down to the river.

It was a beautiful day for canoeing, with the river running about 4-6 feet deep, which is normal. It seemed a little higher than last I remember from a few years back. The water temp is cool, perfect soaking your hat in on a warm day. Compared to other rivers I have canoed, this one has lots of zigzags. There was some dead fall in the river but nothing that required a portage. There are some shallow areas in the river that may require an exit of the canoe to speed the way across the river rocks. There are sand cliffs along the sides of some parts of the river and trees along the rest.

Less than a handful of houses reside alongside of what we saw of this secluded river. We only encountered one other party on the river, which was one more than last I was here, so we had the river pretty much to ourselves. Should one find the time, some large brown trout are pulled from this river every year. I had a good time taking my daughter down this river and watching the girls try their best to hit every obstacle in the river, which they mostly succeeding in doing. While the other couple made it more than halfway down river, when next I look back and see the bottom of the canoe facing skyward and their heads popping out of the water like a prairie dog pops up from the ground. After saving their stuff that was floating down the river we took a short break to laugh about it.

About 4 hours into our trip we were rained on briefly a few times, just a light drizzle mostly. About that time the biting flies decided to accompany us on our journey and literally bug the heck out of us. This year the only bugs that have really been bad are those biting flies I am trying to find some repellent that contains R-326 as Deet does nothing for these flies. After swatting at flies with my double duty hat for close to an hour we finally saw the small bridge that signified the end of our journey. I will look forward to canoeing this river again in the future.

Next up this year is the Manistique River through the Seney National Wildlife Refuge.


Here in Northern Luce County there are many campgrounds just a short distance from the Two Hearted River. Three campgounds are on the river for those extended canoe excursions, plus a campground at the rivermouth. Most campgrounds are rustic.
Muskallonge Lake State Park, which is several miles west of the rivermouth, does have a modern campground. Rustic sites are $10 per night, while the modern campground is $14 to $16 per night.


Fee is required for entrance to Muskallonge Lake State Park.

Rustic campsites are $10 per night, while the modern campground at Muskallonge costs $14-$16 per night.


From Newberry, MI (in the U-P) start north on 123, after a few miles up the road turn west on H37/407 at Fourmile Corner. To get to Perch Lake continue north until you see the campground sign on the right.
To get to the Rainbow Lodge from Perch Lake take 410 East until you run into 412 then continue east on 412 until you hit 423 and head north the the rivermouth. There will be signs directing you to the Rainbow Lodge which makes it hard not to find the lodge, that and the fact that there isn't much up that way.


Michigan Atlas & Gazetter by DeLORME

Michigan DNR Recreation and Camping Guide

Michigan DNR website

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip