Ontonagon, M.Br., Michigan, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-III (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||14 fpm|
|Max Gradient||61 fpm|
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".
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|-0.2||USGS samping site||N/A|
|1.0||Confluence, Payne Creek||N/A|
|1.4||Confluence, Tom Creek||N/A|
|1.6||Log Jam 2 / Meto Creek||N/A|
|4.0||Log Jam Concern #3||N/A|
|5.6||Log Jam Concern #4||N/A|
|7.4||Log Jam Concern #5||N/A|
|7.5||Confluence Trout Creek||N/A|
|9.6||Possible/apparent set of ledges/waves/holes||N/A|
|10.7||Confluence, Longtime Creek||N/A|
|16.4||Confluence, Cute Creek||N/A|
|17.6||Confluence, Darling Creek||N/A|
|19.3||North Country National Scenic Trail||N/A|
|25.5||Confluence with Baltimore River||N/A|
|27.0||Confluence, Spring Creek||N/A|
|28.6||Confluence, East Branch||N/A|
USGS lists a sampling site and shows drainage of 203 square miles.
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'.
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.
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.
As you come around the backside of the island, action increases (class II, possibly a short bit of class III).
A small creek enters river-left.
It appears there may be a ledge/wave/hole river-left.
Tom Creek enters from river-right.
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.
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.
Rounding a hard-right bend, be alert for the likelihood of logjams.
A hard left, and another likely location for a logjam to be skirted.
Again, a tight turn (this time to the right), and an increased chance for massive log jam. Proceed with caution.
A fairly decent-sized trib enters from river-right.
A half-mile walk to the west/left would get you to the end of One-mile Road.
At long last . . . after interminable flatwater, finally some decent rapids! A long island splits the flow, with best flow likely to the left.
It appears there may be three (+/-) ledge/wave/holes in quick succession here.
A small creek enters from the right.
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.
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.)