Ontonagon, M.Br. - C) below Agate Falls (Hwy.28) to Hwy.45 (28.7 miles)

Ontonagon, M.Br., Michigan, US


C) below Agate Falls (Hwy.28) to Hwy.45 (28.7 miles)

Usual Difficulty I-III (for normal flows)
Length 28.7 Miles
Avg. Gradient 14 fpm
Max Gradient 61 fpm

River Description

This is a long (25 miles!) reach, with NO bridges (road crossings) between put-in and take-out. (Therefore no convenient way of shortening the run. There are a few roads or logging trails which come close, but none which cross the river.) This (of course) limits the number of paddlers who will tackle this stretch. The main feature (beyond looking at Agate Falls before you put in below it) would appear to be "Three Rapids Falls", somewhat after the midpoint of the reach. However, aerial views show very little at that location!

Put-in: Park at a wayside on Hwy.28. ***Do NOT put in at the wayside.*** Carry downstream to put-in below Agate Falls. This scenic, steep, stepped falls lands almost uniformly hard (on bedrock). Furthermore, the riverbed increasingly slopes and accelerates the water inexorably toward the lip of the falls. There would be precious little chance for a boater to avoid being swept over the falls (if in the river above it) at any reasonable boatable flow.

Take-out: Hwy.45 at "Military Bridge".

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-03-04 01:49:10

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
-0.2USGS samping siteN/A
-0.2Hwy.28 WaysideN/A
-0.0Agate FallsN/APortage Hazard Waterfall
0.2Log JamN/A
1.0Confluence, Payne CreekN/A
1.4Confluence, Tom CreekN/A
1.6Log Jam 2 / Meto CreekN/A
3.6Possible access/egress?N/AAccess
4.0Log Jam Concern #3N/A
5.6Log Jam Concern #4N/A
7.4Log Jam Concern #5N/A
7.5Confluence Trout CreekN/A
8.5Powerline ClearingN/AAccess
9.6Possible/apparent set of ledges/waves/holesN/A
10.6Apparent rapidsN/A
10.7Confluence, Longtime CreekN/A
14.0N.Paynesville RoadN/A
16.4Confluence, Cute CreekN/A
17.6Confluence, Darling CreekN/A
19.3North Country National Scenic TrailN/A
25.5Confluence with Baltimore RiverN/A
27.0Confluence, Spring CreekN/A
28.6Confluence, East BranchN/A

Rapid Descriptions

USGS samping site (Class N/A, Mile -0.2)

USGS lists a sampling site and shows drainage of 203 square miles.

Hwy.28 Wayside (Class N/A, Mile -0.2)

A wayside at Hwy.28 provides great parking, and a trail down river-right to the falls and below. DO NOT PUT IN AT THE WAYSIDE! The falls is just a couple-hundred yards downstream, and it is far too easy to get past 'the point of no return'.

Agate Falls (Class N/A, Mile -0.0)

Virtually all sane boaters will put in BELOW this falls. The lead-in slopes increasingly downhill, and the landing is quite uniformly shallow (on bedrock), making this a pretty falls to look at, but an ugly one to think about running.

Log Jam (Class N/A, Mile 0.2)

From the put-in below Agate Falls you will have fairly continuous class II rapids. Just less than 0.2 miles into the run, there may be an island which accumulates lots of wood. A route hard to the left is likely to be open, but strong current may push hard into trees. Be careful.

Wave/hole (Class II+, Mile 0.3)

As you come around the backside of the island, action increases (class II, possibly a short bit of class III).

Confluence, Payne Creek (Class N/A, Mile 1.0)

A small creek enters river-left.

Ledge/wave? (Class N/A, Mile 1.2)

It appears there may be a ledge/wave/hole river-left.

Confluence, Tom Creek (Class N/A, Mile 1.4)

Tom Creek enters from river-right.

Log Jam 2 / Meto Creek (Class N/A, Mile 1.6)

Another island, prone to accumulating wood, and another hard-left-turn for what is likely to be the clear channel. As you round this bend, Meto Creek enters river-left.

Possible access/egress? (Class N/A, Mile 3.6)

There is a significant break in the trees, signaling a 'lane' for a gas pipeline, and a private property not far off, river-left. It MAY be possible to use this for access/egress, if permission is obtained.

Log Jam Concern #3 (Class N/A, Mile 4.0)

Rounding a hard-right bend, be alert for the likelihood of logjams.

Log Jam Concern #4 (Class N/A, Mile 5.6)

A hard left, and another likely location for a logjam to be skirted.

Log Jam Concern #5 (Class N/A, Mile 7.4)

Again, a tight turn (this time to the right), and an increased chance for massive log jam. Proceed with caution.

Confluence Trout Creek (Class N/A, Mile 7.5)

A fairly decent-sized trib enters from river-right.

Powerline Clearing (Class N/A, Mile 8.5)

A half-mile walk to the west/left would get you to the end of One-mile Road.

Rapids (Class N/A, Mile 9.4)

At long last . . . after interminable flatwater, finally some decent rapids! A long island splits the flow, with best flow likely to the left.

Possible/apparent set of ledges/waves/holes (Class N/A, Mile 9.6)

It appears there may be three (+/-) ledge/wave/holes in quick succession here.

Confluence, Longtime Creek (Class N/A, Mile 10.7)

A small creek enters from the right.

N.Paynesville Road (Class N/A, Mile 14.0)

An extension off this road leads not too far from the river. If one could identify this location from the river, and if one can access this location (may be private property, may be gated access), it could provide a shorter egress from the river, below all apparent drops and best gradient.

North Country National Scenic Trail (Class N/A, Mile 19.3)

This could provide emergency access, or possible access/egress.

Not far above this bridge is where "Three Rapids" is marked on topo maps. However, there is virtually nothing apparent on aerial views. (OK, very very minor waves.)

Confluence with Baltimore River (Class N/A, Mile 25.5)

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