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.
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 feet.
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 access.
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).
A group of Hoofers from UW-Madison Ran this section on 05/11/2014 at 8500 CFS. Awesome big water run. Big Waves, Big Holes. Everything flushes except for the final hole on the left just before the pool which is a bit sticky but you can work you're way out of it with a little skill and persistence. Easy clean up at the bottom if you go for a swim so not a problem at all. Nice surf waves at the top but try to avoid flipping near the old dam because of rebar. Overall a well worth Big Water run!
The following (suggested by Matt J) may pertain only to the bottom play wave:
800-1000 Good (if this is that low, it's likely nothing else is running)
4500-5000 Starting to surge (bouncy)
6000 GREAT! Air City!!
7000-7300 TOO surgey (Likely to only get 1 ride in 20 attempts)
Off-season ('Ice') Gauge-Stage conversions (subject to annual revision):
7.00' = 1,080 cfs
7.50' = 1,571 cfs
8.00' = 2,210 cfs
8.50' = 2,917 cfs
9.00' = 3,727 cfs
9.50' = 4,610 cfs
10.00' = 5,560 cfs
10.50' = 6,620 cfs
Permits are not required for this reach.
Since this is a park-and-play (accessed from the Michigan side of the river) we have changed the directions below to show routing from your home zipcode. Use the text box below to enter your home or other starting address (using nearly any format: zip, street-address/city, lat/lng) to get drive time/distance and directions to this location.
From 141 South of Pembine, turn East onto County Rd Z. Proceed 10 miles down Z until you cross the Menominee River. Just past the bridge you'll see a dirt road--turn north and drive about a mile or so. You'll see a sign that says Pemene Falls. Turn left at the sign and follow the road to the parking area.
Final Two Holes on Pemene @ 8500
Pemene @ 8500 CFS
Sufing the Wave Train
River Left of old dam
Pemene Falls top hole
Playing Below Pemene Falls
Below the top Hole
Evan at Pemene Falls
WI/MI, Menominee, Playing below Pemene Falls
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