Paddle the Mason Tract

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    Added by Travis Smith

    Paddle the South Branch of the AuSable River through beautiful untouched wilderness - a remote setting unlike any other in the Lower Peninsula.

    The Mason Tract is a massive protected wilderness area encompassing 4,493 acres. The crystal clear AuSable River runs right through the heart of this forest. On this trip, you will encounter enormous old trees with beautiful remote scenery around each riverbend. Bald eagles and black bears are plentiful in this region. This portion of river also represents one of the country’s best trout streams, so you will likely see plenty of fly fishermen. Overall, the current is mild and the water is fairly deep with mainly a sandy bottom throughout.

    The 10.2 mile stretch of river runs from Chase Bridge to Smith Bridge. Either stage a car at Smith Bridge or contact one of the local liveries. Trip length varies depending on recent rainfall and how quickly you paddle: 3.5 – 5 hours.

    There are plenty of areas to stop along the way, including the Mason Chapel that sits high on a hill on the east side of the river about 8 miles into your trip. The Mason Family constructed the Chapel in 1960 to provide fishermen with a place of reverence. The Mason Tract also contains the Mason Tract Pathway, which is a well-maintained trail that runs along the river for 10+ miles and is used for hiking and cross-country skiing.

    Please be respectful of this quiet and pristine area. This is not a party river. As always, practice leave no trace. Enjoy!

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    Stand Up Paddle
    Canoeing
    Fishing
    Photography
    Kayaking
    Swimming
    Bathrooms
    Easy Parking
    Family Friendly
    Food Nearby
    Forest
    Picnic Area
    River
    Romantic
    Scenic
    Wildflowers
    Wildlife
    Swimming Hole

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    Leave No Trace

    Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

    We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

    Stay Nearby

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    Higgins Lake / Roscommon Koa

    Rose City, Michigan

    Chimney Loop Campground

    Gaylord, Michigan

    Gaylord Koa

    South Branch, Michigan

    South Branch Trail Camp Group Site

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