Menominee, Michigan, US/Wisconsin, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV (varies with level)|
|Avg. Gradient||24 fpm|
|Max Gradient||24 fpm|
|MENOMINEE RIVER BELOW PEMENE CREEK NEAR PEMBINE,WI|
|usgs-04066003||800 - 10000 cfs||IV+||28h02m||10900 cfs (too high)|
|Huge, surging, BIG WATER. Impressive to look at. Very few will accept the challenge presented at these massive flows. Gauge (3,140 sq.mi. drainage) lies immediately downstream of this reach, so very accurately portrays flow here.|
In summer, 2012, the areas surrounding Piers Gorge, Quiver Falls, and Pemene Falls were
incorporated into a State Recreation Area, cooperatively operated by Michigan DNR and Wisconsin
DNR. As a result, parking and access for these three distinct areas now requires either a daily
or annual State Park sticker. Additional information is available at: WI DNR
This is a shorter and more intense section than Piers Gorge, and may offer better play (depending upon your preferences).
If you run the full rapids here, this is easily one of the scarier rapids around to run. Some sweet, small surf waves lead into the main drop. Were it not for what lies just downstream, these would be excellent for beginner-to-intermediate tame play.
The first large feature is encountered as the river narrows to about 12' wide, alongside the
remnants of an old dam. Clarice Hole, is an extremely violent
river-wide hole. Entering from upstream, the top of the backwash is a little above eyeball level.
There is a small room of doom to the right, which (if you flip and are swept into) will make your
life miserable (though it generally flushes in the center). There are countless sharp pointy
rocks that the current will slam you into if you do flip. At levels above 7.9 feet you can run
this rapid without hitting rebar. However, I have not been able to confirm presence or absence of
rebar risks at levels below 7.9 feet. The hole becomes less flushy (more keepy) the
lower flow goes! I have not visited this area higher than 8.3 feet
(which is a good level to run it at), but I was told that it was very intimidating at 12
Fifty yards downstream is Hannibal Hole. This is a great hole to play in, especially since there is a huge eddy on river left that provides easy access.
Just 5 yards below Hannibal is Lecter Wave. This is one of the best
waves in the Upper Peninsula/Wisconsin area. Again, a huge eddy on river left provides easy
The 4th 'feature' of this rapid is Cannibal Rock, a chunk of old dam on the river right side of Lecter Wave. This rock is just below the surface (at least, at low-to-moderate flows), and if you windowshade here, you will smack it hard. (I received a mild concussion the first time I hit it, and spent the next 12 hours vomiting. Plus it snapped my paddled in half!)
This run is a little off the main drag, but worth a side-trip to see. Even if you (as many people) decide not to run the whole sequence, you may find Hannibal and Lecter will provide adequate entertainment.
Recommended 'Companion' Runs:
Menominee at Piers Gorge (20 miles distant), Menominee at Quiver (24 miles distant), Sturgeon at Sturgeon Dam (28 miles), Paint at Horserace Rapids (50 miles).