Starting at Pines Point National Forest Park and ending at Fruitvale Rd. This stretch of river is through the Manistee National Forest. Very little private property along the route. Very scenic route. Lots of wildlife and some challenging water. Not for the beginner kayaker. Good steady current over mostly sandy bottom. Water level was normal for the time of year.
River depth is generally less that 3 ft but there are numerous holes 8 ft plus. Plan on portaging or as I call it "4 wheel yakin". Lots of wood in the river. Most of this stretch is not run by any commercial outfitters. The stretch from Diamond Point Camp ground down to Fruitvale Rd(see Manistee National Forest web site for river map) is run by Happy Mohawk Canoes and this part is cleared. Above that the river is full of twists, turns, bayous, dead ends and on the day we ran it, mosquitoes. If you are a fisherman this is an ideal trip.
Bring a tent and campout. In 2007 the National Forest Service closed most of the two tracks that lead back into this area, so it does not get many visitors. At Pines Point the river sign says it is approximately 4 to 5 hours to Fruitvale Rd. We made it 7 hours.
As always plan well and you will have a good trip; forget rain gear, bug dope or food and your day will suck. No cell phone reception along the route and only 3 cottages that we saw. River runs through mostly Maple/Hemlock low lands.
The river does split at least 3 times and we were fortunate not to have to back track. Our group went both left and right so I can't say for sure which way is correct, we got lucky.
At Pines Point, pit toilets and water.
At Fruitvale Rd, nothing
Pines Point has a day use fee of $3
Put in at Pines Point NFCG - from Hesperia take M-120 (Maple Island Rd.) south to Garfield, west to 168th St, South to Pines Point.
Take out - Fruitvale Rd.- from Hesperia take M-120(Maple Island Rd) south to Skeels Rd., west on Skeels to Nichols Rd, south on Nichols to Fruitvale Rd., west on Fruitvale to bridge over river (other side of bridge is Happy Mowhawk Canoe rental)
Manistee National Forest website