This photo needs editing.
Difficulty I-II(III)
Length 11 Miles
Gauge MIDDLE BRANCH ONTONAGON RIVER NEAR PAULDING, MI
Flow Range 150 - 1000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 17 hours ago 247 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 01/02/2018 5:43 pm

River Description


Put-in is at Burned Dam Campground either above or below Mex-i-min-e Falls, a class III or IV rapid depending upon flow. It may be noted that one of the holes in this drop has been known to forcibly extricate paddlers from their boat. Experienced boaters may be most likely to just park-and-huck this drop.

The reach from there is a pleasant float with intermittent rockbed rapids. Little Falls is marked on the maps where the river enters the Bond Falls Flowage. It is quite possible that the falls itself is buried beneath the waters of the flowage as there is only a short class II drop there now. There is an egress paddle over the waters of the flowage to a public access point off Bond Falls Rd. Bond Falls is located below the dam on the north side of the road and is well worth a visit if in the area. Like Agate Falls downstream, it is a high drop onto rock and not runnable but very scenic.

As the final miles of river before the flowage are primarily moving water, paddlers may wish to use an alternate take-out at Interior Road.

Rapid Descriptions

Decent gradient

Class - N/A Mile - 1.03
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Downstream of Mex-i-min-e Falls gradient very quickly peters out. A few minor areas of riffles and rips intersperse the otherwise flat-but-flowing water until you arrive about a mile downstream. As the river takes a sharp right, action increases just a bit (class I-II). Within 0.1 mile, it button-hooks to the left, and a couple ledge/wave/holes may be encountered (possibly very briefly verging on class III), and then quickly reverts back to class I-II before petering out to flat/flowing once again.

Minor rips

Class - N/A Mile - 3.18
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After very nearly two miles of flat/flowing water, finally another short bit of minor rips (class I-II) is encountered. Flat/flowing water quickly resumes.

Nice half-mile rips

Class - N/A Mile - 3.7
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About a half-mile of flat/flowing (around a couple of good horse-shoe bends) brings you to a left bend and gradient picks up nicely, yielding low-grade (class I-II) rapids for the next half-mile.

Horseshoe Bend

Class - N/A Mile - 4.81
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After a hairpin right-hand bend (from North around to South), as the river quickly heads 90-degrees left (East) it encounters a stretch of low-grade (class I-II) rapids which does a sweeping left-hand horseshoe bend (to the North, then back to the West), and through a few more lesser bends before petering out (about a half-mile).

Confluence, McGinty Creek

Class - N/A Mile - 5.37
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very minor rips

Class - N/A Mile - 5.55
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Not far downstream of McGinty Creek, another stretch of low-grade (class I-II) riffles and rips is encountered. This will be rather intermittent, extending pretty well down to Interior Road.

Interior Road (5250)

Class - N/A Mile - 6.43
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USGS gauge site (164 square miles)

In addition, many boaters may wish to take out here, as gradient is generally less downstream, there is just one 'significant' (named) rapids, and (unless one can travel some of the unimproved roads) egress involves paddling across the flowage.

Little Falls

Class - II Mile - 8.93
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Less than a quarter-mile after passing a building (Cabin? Barn? Shack?) on river-right, the river bends left and trips across a minor ledge/hole (mostly to river-right). A brief pool and a right-turn leads to more river-wide scattering of ledge/waves (likely class II+). A slightly longer gap leads to a final ledge/wave before the river enters the backwater of Bond Flowage. If/when the water is high, this small ledge is very likely to be 'swallowed up' by the backwaters of  the flowage below.

It may be possible to carry out river-left to an unimproved road (if it is passable, not gated and not posted against trespass). Otherwise, paddle (2.5 miles) across the flowage to the listed take-out location.

Description and photos of this very short ledge/falls are available at: Waterfalls of the Keweenaw. Interestingly, they have it listed as being on "Interior Creek".

Comments

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Scott Puthoff
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8 years ago

Ran just the falls at 159 cfs and it was totally runnable. Didn't run down beyond that, but figure that is probably runnable as well. Fun drop for sure!

Gage Descriptions

This gauge is on this reach (about midway down), therefore should quite accurately reflect conditions.

We do not currently have reliable information regarding best boatable flows. Listed 'mimimum' and 'maximum' are still tentative. Further refinement through user input is required.

Gauge/flow analysis (based on USGS data, 1942-2006):
Drainage area at gauge: 164 sq.mi.
All time minimum daily mean flow: 7 cfs (1990.08.08)
90% of time flow exceeds: 88 cfs
10% of time flow exceeds: 290 cfs
All time maximum daily mean flow: 2,050 cfs (1951.04.30)
10/90 ratio: 3.3 ('flashy-ness': under 3 is quite steady, over 10 is quite 'flashy')

Directions Description


We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

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News

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Rob

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Matt Muir

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1204267 03/05/15 Rob minor edit; add features
1208642 01/02/18 Rob remove table from gauge description, putting info into simple statement/paragraph form.
1190730 03/03/09 n/a n/a
1200238 06/05/11 Rob Select feature photo/