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Iron River Ranger District

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General Information

Description - Natural beauty reigns four seasons on the Iron River Ranger District. With trail elevations that reach 1,850 feet, abundant fisheries supporting both cold and warmwater species, hardwood and mixed conifers displaying their brilliant fall beauty, and several photogenic waterfalls, the District is ideal for recreation season to season.

Attractions - Iron River Ranger District offers a diverse platter of activities for all outdoor tastes. Hiking trails venture throughout the District offering exceptional wildlife viewing and bird watching that include spring and fall migrations. Four major rivers slice the landscape. Brule River offers 25 canoeable miles affording both cold and warm water fishing opportunities. The Paint River not only offers exception scenic paddling on Class I and Class II water but also provides access to the North and South Branches, each affording miles of enjoyable river paddling. Four developed campgrounds are located on Iron River and backcountry camping is allowed throughout the District as well. Combined with the numerous lakes, Iron River Ranger District is an ideal vacation destination. Visitors will find shady campsites resting below shady hardwoods and conifers, and deep, large acreage lakes supporting various fish species. Several developed beaches, picnic areas, and playgrounds are perfect for family outings. One such destination is Lake Ottawa featuring developed areas that include changing house, interpretive trail, boat launch, and trailer dump station. Two notable scenic areas on Iron River Ranger District include the Snake Rapids Falls and Chipmunk Falls, both day visits from Blockhouse campground. The sparking snows of winter are captured by cross-country skiers who enjoy 10 miles along Ge-Che Cross-county Ski Trail and by area snowmobilers who have their own club entitled the Iron Ranger Trail Club. Clubhouse is located at 11 West Maple Street, Iron River. These folks groom over 200 miles of trails. Trail maps are available by calling the Iron County Chamber of Commerce office (1-888-TRY-IRON). Bicycles are allowed on National Forest trails except where posted. Bicycles are also prohibited in congressionally designated Wilderness Areas. Prohibited trails include portions of the North Country National Scenic Trail.

Recreation - District visitors are treated to natural beauty where backpacking, camping, fishing, paddling, swimming, picnicking, hiking, biking, wildlife watching, snowmobiling, and skiing are pursued.

Climate - The Upper Peninsula normally experiences mild summers with average temperatures near 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Winter temperatures average 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C). Rain and snowmelt in the region can reach up to 200 inches annually. Travelers should be aware that significant amounts of snow could fall within a relatively short period of time resulting in hazardous road conditions.

Location - Iron River Ranger District encompasses the southwest area of Iron County in the western Upper Peninsula.

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More Information

Contact Information:
Iron River Ranger District, 900 Lalley Road , Iron River, MI, 49935, Phone: 906-265-5139, Fax: 906-265-6536, TTY: 906-265-9259

Additional Information:
Ottawa National Forest - The almost one million acres of the Ottawa National Forest are located in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It extends from the south shore of Lake Superior down to Wisconsin and the Nicolet National Forest.

Ottawa National Forest - Official agency website.


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