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West Branch Visitors Bureau
The following are some suggested itineraries, based on our own experiences with accompanying video clips to help you decide if it is a place for you. Feel free to select only one or two activities per day according to your family’s interests. For assistance or for more information, call the West Branch Visitors Bureau - (800) 755-9091 Have fun!
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Photo Galleries
Fall 2006
Rifle River Rec Area I
Rifle River Rec Area II
» Rifle River Rec Area I
(21 photos)
» Rifle River Rec Area II
(19 photos)
Related Information & Links
Show Introduction
» Video (2:00)
Great Getaways Show Introduction
  In our constant search for the hidden treasures located across the Midwest we may have found one of Michigan’s best kept secrets and it is called the Rifle River Recreation Area. It is a wilderness located within the AuSable State Forest on the outskirts of West Branch Michigan with a variety of recreational opportunities.

» West Branch Visitors Bureau
Park Overview
» Video (4:00)
Park Park Overview
  This area was formerly a private hunting and fishing retreat owned by the late H.M. Jewett, a pioneer auto manufacturer. In 1945 the tract, then called Grousehaven, was purchased by the Department of Conservation from Mrs. Jewett. The Department of Conservation renamed it the Rifle River Area and used it as a field laboratory for fish and game research. In 1963, the Parks Division acquired the area and it is now known as the Rifle River Recreation Area.

» Rifle River Recreation Area at West Branch Visitors Bureau
» Rifle River Recreation Area at DNR website
Grousehaven Lake
» Video (1:00)
Fish Grousehaven Lake
  10 of the lakes in the park are open to fishing and some have park specific rules. There are no motors allowed on any of the lakes. Grousehaven Lake has two beaches and several access points. You can find Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Perch, Sunfish and Bass in the lake.

» Michigan DNR - Grousehaven Lake Map
» Michigan DNR - Rifle River Recreation Area Fishing Guide
Canoeing Devoe Lake
» Video (5:30)
Canoe Canoeing Devoe Lake (4 hours)
  You not only have access to all the lakes by either boat or trail, you also have the opportunity to canoe the river and have you and your canoe picked up at spots down the river. The local canoe liveries will be more than happy to help with the planning of your trip.

» Michigan DNR - Devoe Lake Map
» Local Canoe Liveries - West Branch Visitors Bureau
» Rifle River Recreation Area - West Branch Visitors Bureau

» Video (4:45)
Camp Campgrounds
  As we continued we took the time to talk with some of the folks camping. If you had any doubt that this was a marvelous place listen to what Peter Watson from Troy, Michigan had to say. If that’s not enough to make you jump in the truck and head to the rifle river recreation area then how about some one that has been coming hear for over 40 years. Dale Kandt and his family call this place paradise and every fall home!

» Michigan DNR - Rifle River Recreation Area Campgrounds
» Rifle River Recreation Area Campground Reservations
» Devoe Lake Campground
» Ranch Campground
» Spruce Campground

» Video (0:45)
Leaf Fall Color Tour (3 hours)
  The Hills of Ogemaw County are known for their breath taking beauty when it comes to fall colors. So even our trip from town to the recreation area was a fantastic autumn color tour. Trees ablaze in gold, reds and orange give way to the splendor of the hills. The landscape was a real surprise and I can understand why people would make this trip for this trip just to travel through the Ogemaw Hills.

» Fall Color Tour - Pure Michigan

» Video (4:45)
Great Getaways Hiking Trails (3 hours)
  The Rifle River Recreation Area is a multi-use area that provides a quiet getaway for hikers looking for a trail system with a mix of terrain, scenery, and solitude. The 4,300-acre recreation area blends nearly all the habitats and environments found in northern Michigan. Its overall beauty and solitude draw more than 100,000 visitors annually.

» Michigan DNR - Rifle River Recreation Area Trails

» Video (0:45)
Fish Jewett Lake (6 hours)
  For the fishing enthusiasts, ten scenic lakes offer all types of fishing. Bluegills, bass, northern pike, yellow perch and trout can be found in these lakes. Brook, brown and rainbow trout are present throughout the many miles of streams in the recreation area. Fisheries research is being conducted on Jewett Lake. This lake is closed to fishing without a permit which is available at park headquarters. All lakes are closed to boats with motors. Consult the Rifle River Fishing Guide for more information about which species can be found in the many lakes in the recreation area.

» Michigan DNR - Jewett Lake Map
» Michigan DNR - Rifle River Recreation Area Fishing Guide

» Video (0:45)
Camp Modern Campground
  We went to see the modern campsite on the north side of Grousehaven Lake. It has 80 sites with electric hookups, modern toilet buildings, showers, wheelchair-accessible sites and sanitation stations. In addition, some campgrounds have pull-through sites for larger vehicles. The day was coming to an end the sun was getting low in the sky but the scenery was still as breathtaking as it was at the beginning of our day. I will definitely be coming back here for many years to come.

» Grousehaven Lake Modern Campground
» Rifle River Recreation Area Campground Reservations