Au Sable River, South Branch

Roscommon, Michigan

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1 Review
4 out of 5
A pleasant, slow-moving stream that is popular with canoeists and fly fishermen alike. Location: Begins at Lake St. Helen in Northern Roscommon County and flows into southeastern Crawford County before joining the mainstream of the fabled Au Sable River. The South Branch of the Au Sable River is an appealing stream for paddlers looking for an undemanding and scenic float. It proceeds at a sleepy pace for its entire length, passing through the heart of the Mason Tract Wilderness Area before joining with the Au Sable mainstream. The Mason Tract is a sanctuary of several thousand acres that was bequeathed to the state back in the mid-1950s by George Mason, an auto executive and outdoor enthusiast. Per Mason’s instructions, the entire area—including the river corridor —has been kept in a natural state for successive generations of paddlers and anglers to enjoy. Today, its woodlands of cedar, pine, and hardwoods support good populations of deer, woodcock, ruffed grouse, and other wildlife.
Paddling Michigan

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Paddling Michigan

by Kevin Hillstrom & Laurie Collier Hillstrom (Falcon Guides)

A pleasant, slow-moving stream that is popular with canoeists and fly fishermen alike. Location: Begins at Lake St. Helen in Northern Roscommon County and flows into southeastern Crawford County before joining the mainstream of the fabled Au Sable River. The South Branch of the Au Sable River is an appealing stream for paddlers looking for an undemanding and scenic float.

It proceeds at a sleepy pace for its entire length, passing through the heart of the Mason Tract Wilderness Area before joining with the Au Sable mainstream. The Mason Tract is a sanctuary of several thousand acres that was bequeathed to the state back in the mid-1950s by George Mason, an auto executive and outdoor enthusiast. Per Mason’s instructions, the entire area—including the river corridor —has been kept in a natural state for successive generations of paddlers and anglers to enjoy. Today, its woodlands of cedar, pine, and hardwoods support good populations of deer, woodcock, ruffed grouse, and other wildlife.

©  Kevin Hillstrom & Laurie Collier Hillstrom/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Roscommon
Distance: 24.5
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 7 - 10 hours
Class: Class I
Season: Best May to October
Local Contacts: Range Pond State Park
Local Maps: USGS Roscommon North, Eldorado, Luzerne NW
Driving Directions: Directions to Au Sable River, South Branch

Recent Trail Reviews

7/6/2002
0

The South Branch of the Au Sable River was very pleasant with the exception of the first 3 hours. The holiday weekend brought many weekend partiers and their conjoined canoes filled with styrofoam coolers and endless beer cans. The river is GREAT with its narrow banks and fallen trees. It offered tremendous amounts of wildlife from eagles, deer, cyotes, trout, and a very friend raccoon. We camped at Canoe Harbor about 4 hours into our trip from Roscommon. We had read some limited information on line and we were very surprised at the level of accommodations. The vaulted toilets were exceptional, the campsites clean, comfortable and above all QUITE. The second day of our journey gave us more views of the Mason Tract and great canoeing to ourselves. Once joining the Au Sable, the river opens up and begins to slow down, giving us time to drowned a few lures and catch some sun. There are a few places to stop along this section where toilets and tables are available. Our journey ended at McMasters Bridge. With the exception of the traffic and litter amoung the first section of the trail, I highly recommend this river.



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