Description - This 4,329-acre park was formerly a private hunting and fishing retreat owned by the late H.M. Jewett, a pioneer auto manufacturer. In 1945 the tract, then called "Grousehaven," was purchased by the Department of Conservation from Mrs. Jewett. The Department of Conservation renamed it the Rifle River Area and used it as a field laboratory for fish and game research. In 1963 it was acquired by Parks Division and is now know as the Rifle River Recreation Area protecting a variety of habitats that include upland hardwood and pine forest, open grassland, lowland forest, cedar swamp, bog, marsh, and open water.
Copyright: Patty Elton - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
White-tailed Deer are commonly called Virginia Deer
The terrain ranges from level to rolling hills and contains a mixture of open brush land, wetlands, and mature hardwood forest, with some pockets of open meadows mixed in.
- Outdoor activities at Rifle River Recreation Area center on the park's 10 inland lakes and ponds. A modern campground is located on the north shore of Grousehaven Lake. The 80-site campground features a swimming beach, playground, boat launch and trailer pump-out facility. There are three rustic campgrounds in the recreation area. One is located on Devoe Lake and the other two, Ranch and Spruce campgrounds, are located on the Rifle River. Facilities are limited to vault toilets and hand pumps. Campsites total 181. Rustic trail side cabins are available for rent at five locations within the park. Modern bathhouse facilities are open April 1 to December 1.
Day use facilities with swimming beach and picnic areas are available to park visitors at Grousehaven Lake and Devoe Campground. A picnic shelter and beach house is offered. Fourteen miles of hiking trails lead visitors to areas conducive to wildlife and birdlife sightings. The pathways meander throughout the park affording hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Numbered posts keyed to the park map will help keep users orient themselves. An observation tower gives sightseers a fantastic scenic view of the recreation area. In addition, there is plenty of open space available for nature study. Day users are also welcome to use the boat launch and children's playground.
Rifle River Recreation Area is open to hunting for all species between September 15 and March 31 in accordance with the State Hunting Regulations. This park boasts excellent deer and rabbit hunting. Great hunting opportunities exist for grouse, woodcock, duck, goose, and squirrel as well. The park is also open to trapping, with many lakes and streams offering excellent beaver, muskrat and mink populations. Boat motors, including trolling motors, are prohibited on all lakes within Rifle River Recreation Area affording great flatwater paddlesport opportunities.
All 10 scenic lakes are available for fishing. Bluegill, rock bass, northern pike, yellow perch and trout can be found in these lakes. Brook, brown and rainbow trout are present throughout the many miles of streams in the recreation area. Fisheries research is being conducted on Jewett Lake. This lake is closed to fishing without a permit, which is available at the park headquarters.
The area is open for winter use so that visitors can enjoy activities such as cross-country skiing and ice fishing. Snowmobiles are allowed, but a Motor Vehicle Permit is required for each snowmobile.
The Au Sable River Scenic Byway is located 20 miles east of Rifle River Recreation Area. Along this byway are many attractions, including Lumbermen's Monument Visitor Center and Largo Springs.
Recreation - Recreation at Rifle River Recreation Area includes wildlife viewing, bird watching, trout fishing, canoeing, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, camping, picnicking, group picnicking, playground fun, hunting, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
Rifle River Grousehaven- Modern - (800) 447-2757, 75 site(s), $17
Rifle River-Spruce Rustic - (800) 447-2757, 16 site(s), $10
Rifle River- Group Use Area - (989) 473-2258, Contact the park
Rifle River-Rustic Cabins - (989) 473-2258, 5 site(s), $65
Rifle River-Ranch Rustic - (800) 447-2575, 25 site(s), $10
Rifle River-Devoe Lake Rustic - (800) 447-2757, 58 site(s), $10
Rifle River-Pintail Pond - 0.75 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Rifle River-Multi-use Trail - 14 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski
Climate - Northern Michigan normally experiences mild summers with average temperatures around 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Winter temperatures average 14 - 22 degrees F (-10 to -6 degrees C). Yearly rain and snowmelt in the region averages 28 - 36 inches but can be dramatically altered by the "lake effect," thus depositing significant amounts of snow within a short period of time causing hazardous road conditions.
The park is located east of Rose City. To reach the park from Interstate 75, get off at exit 202 (Rose City) and go 20 miles north on M-33 to Rose City. Head east on Rose City Road 4.5 miles.