At a Glance
- Bowman’s Bridge Access: 7500 W 56th St, Baldwin, MI 49304
- This section of the Pere Marquette River is heavily forested and passes through several hundred acres of U.S. Forest Service land and non-developed private land.
- River miles in this section: 7.3 miles
- Float time is approximately 3 hours
- For more information, view the Pere Marquette National Scenic River map (pdf).
What to See
Downstream of the “flies only” fishing section, this part of the river is heavily forested as it passes through several hundred acres of U.S. Forest Service land and non-developed private land. The edges of the river have wade-able areas and stretches of gravel are common, though several “holes” are present in this section of river as well.
The Pere Marquette River has exceptional water quality, relatively undamaged habitat, and scenic beauty. It is federally designated as a Wild & Scenic River and state designated as a Blue Ribbon Trout Stream. This medium sized river has a good current, is a renowned cold water fishery, and is the only undammed river in the Lake Michigan watershed.
In this stretch, Kinney Creek–a high-quality, cold water contributor–flows into the mainstem of the Pere Marquette River. Conservation plays an important role in preserving the integrity of the river and surrounding forest as it prevents the subdivision of land and unmanaged timber cutting.
Through partnerships with families, the Land Conservancy has protected 3,300 acres of land and 26 miles of river frontage in the Pere Marquette River watershed. Along this particular stretch, the Land Conservancy worked with the Corson, Levings, Wherley, MacDougall and Smith families to secure their private properties in perpetuity with conservation easements.
Note: Due to the federal designation of the Pere Marquette as a protected river, U.S. Forest Service permits are required for all watercraft (kayaks, canoes, tubes, etc.) between Memorial Day and Labor Day.Click here for more information or call 877-444-6777.
Bowman’s Bridge access is located about 5 miles west of Baldwin on 56th Street. There are restrooms available at both Bowman’s Bridge and Rainbow Rapids, as well as picnic areas. Bowman’s Bridge has camping available, and the nearby Bowman’s Lake has walk-in camping available. Fees apply at USFS sites, which include both Bowman’s and Rainbow sites. There are amenities nearby at the intersection of 76th Street and M-37, as well as in Baldwin–Jones Ice Cream is highly recommended.