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Menominee River



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Menominee River

Menominee River Trails

Kayak Menominee River


This 1,962-acre property borders the west side of the Menominee River for about five miles. The property was donated to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 2000 from the Richard King Mellon Foundation along with 2,530 acres to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources on the opposite side of the river, which is now part of the Escanaba State Forest. The property's master plan was approved in March of 2000. This document guides the development and management of the property. The goal of the property is to conduct sound natural resources management and provide multiple forms of recreational opportunities. Generally speaking, this is a quiet-use property with limited vehicular access. Developed areas of the property are kept simple and rustic.

Menominee River Map

Resource Management

The river corridor with towering pines, granite rock outcrops, and falls are the primary biological and aesthetic features of the property. Management takes this into consideration by placing a 200-foot buffer along the banks of the Menominee River. This buffer area and other designated forest stands total 700 acres of forest that have been designated to be managed toward old growth forest conditions. Some of the areas already exhibit older forest characteristics while the majority of stands need time and some management applications. These areas will provide habitat for wildlife species that require older forest habitat characteristics and a look into what the area may have looked like before settlement.

The remainder of the property is managed through sustainable forestry practices. Sustainable forestry is comprehensive management that combines the perpetual growing and harvesting of trees with the long term protection of wildlife, plants, soil and water quality. A minimum of 900 acres of aspen is managed to provide various stages of maturity. This is beneficial to many species of wildlife and is particularly valuable to the property's primary game species, ruffed grouse, and whitetail deer.


What can you do on the Menominee River Natural Resources Area? Take your pick! Camp, canoe, hike, fish, hunt, trap, bird watch, berry pick or sight see. It's all available to you here.


There are multiple primitive campsites available on the property. No permits are required and the sites are first-come-first-serve so have a back-up plan in case your planned site is occupied. No potable source of water is provided. It is permissible to collect down and dead wood for cooking/warming fires. Do NOT cut down dead or live standing trees. Do not damage trees by cutting, nailing or screwing objects into them. If a fire ring is present at the site, you are required to use it. Pack-it-in, pack-it-out policy is enforced for garbage. It is illegal to burn garbage. Other camping opportunities exist on the Michigan side of the river.

Canoe Campsites

There are two canoe/walk-in campsites available on the Wisconsin shore of the Menominee River (see property map). These sites are for groups of six persons or less and limited to a maximum stay of three nights. The only developments to the sites are providing a fire ring, a cleared spot to pitch a tent and a very primitive latrine (if the porcupines haven't eaten it). No signs are currently marking the sites from the river vantage. Latrine facilities, a tent pad, and signage developments will be funded and completed in the next couple years.

Island Campsites

All state-owned islands are available for camping (see property map (PDF, 396KB)). These sites are limited to a maximum stay of one night. This is primitive camping. No developments are provided.


This stretch of river and roughly 12 miles upstream are some of the few remaining portions of the river still exhibiting the wild undeveloped characteristics of free flowing river. The property provides a primitive canoe launch at the northern reaches just below Quiver Falls and in the middle of the property (currently primitive, will be development into launch-accessible to persons with disabilities) (see property map (PDF, 396KB)). Other launches exist beyond the property and in Michigan. The majority of the river is broad and gentle along the property with some rapids. Pemene Falls to the south is a mandatory portage (Michigan side). A comprehensive canoe trail map of the Menominee River (including this property) and upstream tributaries such as the Brule, Paint and Michigamme Rivers was produced in 2003 by We Energies. This is a valuable asset if you are considering a canoe trip on this river system (part 3 of 3 includes the stretch of river along the Menominee River Natural Resources Area). The canoe trail map cost $3.00 for each part or $9.00 for the entire set (includes postage). Ask for the Menominee Watershed Canoe Trail maps and specify which part(s) at:

Wild Rivers Interpretive Center
4793 Forestry Drive
Florence, WI 54121


The Pemene Falls hiking trail found in the southern portion of the property is the only maintained hiking trail (see trail map (PDF, 65KB)). The trail is former logging roads or, in some stretches, is cleared path through the forest. Scenery is forested, some large pine stands and rock outcrops. Trail surface is natural materials (not graveled or paved). Most of the trail is fairly level and sod surfaced, but there are portions of the trail on steep slopes and/or over rocky terrain. The trail head leads to options to hike a short loop (0.8 miles), a long loop (1.9 miles) or an overlook of Pemene Falls (0.5 miles). There is also a canoe/walk-in campsite that is accessed via the hiking trail. Signage along the trail is minimal, but present at key intersections. Other trails/logging roads exist on the property, but are not maintained and managed as designated trails.

Scenic Overlooks

Pemene Falls overlook is very primitive. It is accessed via the Pemene Falls Hiking Trail. The trail ends at the edge of the gorge. There is no developed viewing area, but it's a sight to see. Remnants of an old concrete dam still persist. During the spring flow the water thunders through a granite constriction in the river corridor.

Quiver Falls overlook is directly down stream of the Quiver falls. Remnants of dams and cribbing (for log runs) left from the logging era are visible upstream. It is accessible via Pemene Dam Road. Currently, an undeveloped parking area and footpath leads to a spot to look at the falls. A viewing area and parking lot accessible to persons with disabilities will be developed in the next couple years at the site.


All portions of the property are open to these activities following Wisconsin regulations governing each activity. Ruffed grouse and white-tailed deer are the primary games species. The Menominee River is known for its smallmouth bass fishing. Many other fish species are present as well.


The property is located in northeast Marinette County, with the closest town being Pembine. No single road traverses the entire property. The property has five maintained access roads with parking areas that connect to town roads. They are signed as Menominee River Natural Resources Area access roads (see property map (PDF, 396KB)). These roads are not plowed in the winter and may be difficult to travel during wet periods of the year. All below descriptions originate from US HWY 141:

  • East on Hwy Z which is south of Pembine, then north on Verhayen lane
  • East on Cemetery Road which is in Pembine, then continue east on Horseshoe Road, turn right on Mullaney Creek Road access road is on left approximately 2 miles
  • East on Cemetery Road which is in Pembine, then continue east on Horseshoe Road, the road will make a ninety degree turn to the north at this corner a Marinette County Forest trail/ATV trail continues in a easterly direction, eventually the ATV trail will follow a fork to the right stay on the left fork, another fork will present itself a bit further the right is graveled and leads to a parking area the fork to the left is not currently developed or maintained and leads to the primitive boat launch
  • East on County Highway R, turn right on Horseshoe Road (also referred to as Pemene River Road) go over railroad tracks more than a mile later the road will make a ninety degree turn south about a quarter mile further turn left onto the access road
  • East on County Highway R which changes to Kremlin Road, turn right on Pemene Dam Road, Quiver Falls parking area will be on the right roughly half mile


More information is available by contacting the property manager at (715) 856-9160.

Information courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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