This photo needs editing.
Difficulty I-II(III)
Length 3.9 Miles
Gauge Big Iron Approximation
Flow Range 300 - 1200 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 2 hours ago ~ 24.72 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/18/2019 10:07 am

River Description

Quick Facts:
Location:Western Upper Peninsula, approximately 11 miles NW from Bergland.
Shuttle Length: up to 16.5 miles. (See details in "Directions" Tab.)
Character: Fine northwoods float.
Drainage area at uppermost listed possible put-in: approximately 13 square miles.

Uppermost put-in elevation is approximately 350 meters or 1148'.
Take-out elevation (after confluence with Big Iron) is approximately 760'.
Thus total elevation change is approximately 388'.

Information (lat, lng, elev, total drop, run length, shuttle length) adjusted and/or verified from best manual extrapolation of online data (via, distance measuring tool, and other resources). 2009.01.30

We are aware of some runs on some segment of the West Branch of the Big Iron River. We have no specific knowledge of put-in and take-out which have been used. The best gradient (not that any of it is that steep) is on the final stretch of the West Branch, before merging with the main Big Iron. Thus, that is the 'primary' stretch detailed here. The listed rating of class I-II(III) is highly tentative, based only upon gradient and what is observable from a 'virtual walk' via Google.

In case anyone cares or dares to explore further, we will list details and provide logistics for what seem likely upstream access points. It is unknown how possible either upper access is. Both of these upper stretches appear as though they would be potentially scenic floats, as they appear to be in a bit of a gorge or steep valley. Again, the final ('primary') segment (as detailed in this listing) is the higher gradient reach, and has readily apparent ledge/drops.

The resolution on satellite views for this area is excellent. We highly recommended going to the "Access" tab, clicking the "Put in" coordinates. You'll be taken to GoogleMaps, where you can click 'Satellite' and do a 'virtual walk' of this reach! (HINT: The river flows North.)

Rapid Descriptions

Uppermost Possible Putin

Class - N/A Mile - -13.25
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Coordinates of uppermost possible access point: 46.6880 -89.7555
(Cut+Paste those values into the text-entry box on the 'Directions' tab to see routing to this location.)

Elevation here is (roughly) 1148'. It is about 7 miles to the next listed access point (at about 1021' elevation), for a total drop of ~127', and an average gradient of ~18FPM on this uppermost section.

Alternate Access #2

Class - N/A Mile - -6.25
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Coordinates of alternate access point: 46.7198, -89.6945
(Cut+Paste those values into the text-entry box on the 'Directions' tab to see routing to this location.)

Elevation here is (roughly) 1021'. It is about 6.25 miles to our listed/recommended put-in (the next listed access point, at about 872' elevation), for a total drop of ~149', and an average gradient of ~24FPM on this second upper section.

Rock Garden

Class - N/A Mile - -3.5
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More rock garden

Class - N/A Mile - -3.17
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Rocky Island

Class - N/A Mile - -2.83
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Class - N/A Mile - -1.78
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Confluence, Loggerhead Creek

Class - N/A Mile - 0.46
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Loggerhead Creek enters from river-left. On aerial views, trees obscure the river, but it appears there could be a bit of a stretch of rapids through this area.


Class - N/A Mile - 0.53
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Class - N/A Mile - 0.83
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Rocky Jumble

Class - N/A Mile - 1
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Aerial view seems to show an odd rocky jumble through here -- perhaps odd splines of bedrock, mostly parallel to the flow.

Confluence, Big Iron

Class - N/A Mile - 1.82
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The West Branch ends as it meets the Big Iron River. Immediately downstream, a large island splits the flow, extending about 3/4ths-of-a-mile downriver.


Gage Descriptions

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Directions Description

Access for this run (listed put-in or any of the listed 'alternate' put-ins) may be problematic.
Roads other than the main highway are not plowed in winter, so will be snow packed in early season (late winter, early spring).

Alternate routing (from that shown here by default) may be possible from the south, and should be fairly apparent from the map. Pros and cons of either route are not known at this time.

To see routing to either higher put-in (from listed put-in for lowest segment), cut-and-paste the following values into the text-entry box below:
For first higher stretch: 46.7198, -89.6945
For highest likely stretch: 46.6880, -89.7555

No Accident Reports




Matt Muir




Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1194936 03/03/09 n/a n/a
1208625 12/31/17 Rob remove table from description and add info to upper access points
1211945 04/18/19 Rob updated description
1200571 09/01/11 Rob Add 'abstract'.