Paddlers' Frequently Asked Questions

Paddlers FAQ

Here are some answers to our most frequently asked questions related to paddling activities. If you can't find the answer you are looking for, please contact our operations office at (231) 862-3471.

Who can go canoeing?
Each season we assist hundreds of folks in taking their very first canoe trip. It takes only a quick 5-minute primer to empower first-time paddlers to paddle the Manistee or Pine with confidence, command, and comfort. Learn by doing and the learning curve is slow, but give us your ear for 5 minutes and the learning curve is dramatically accelerated. Canoeing is an incredible and rejuvenating life-sport. Any able-bodied person can quickly master and enjoy paddling the most beautiful craft on the planet. Top
Do you have an age requirement for canoeing?
We do not have an age limit as such, but understand that wherever there is water, there is risk. And it?s no secret that young children are easily bored. However, if parents have previously paddled the river, we generally defer to their judgment as to whether or not they take small children. If parents have not previously paddled the river, our policy is to not allow them to take smaller children in canoes. In Michigan, children 12 and under must wear life jackets. Top
Who can go kayaking?
Just about anyone can go kayaking. Kayaking continues to experience incredible growth because kayaks are so easy to paddle and they take you to such beautiful places. Children who weigh less than 90 lbs. and very large adults are challenged a bit, but after we share a few quick tips with folks, the vast majority will be surprised at how stable and easy to command kayaks are. Because we are veteran paddlers with the largest kayak rental in the Midwest, we have the unique ability to fit you to kayaks that are weight and experience appropriate for you. Top
Do you have an age requirement for kayaking?
No, but as children who weigh under 90 lbs. are less physically developed, we generally recommend they paddle with an adult. Having said that, there are plenty of kids weighing less than 90 lbs. that have the constitution to command and have a great time kayaking. Top
Who usually rents rafts?
Rafts are an extremely stable craft, and a great choice for a relaxing float down the Pine River. Their width and forgiving nature make rafts a popular choice for families with younger children and others who want to enjoy the magic of the Pine River without the worry of getting wet. Top
Do you have an age requirement for rafting?
As the rafts are so stable, we have not established an age limit. Having said that, wherever there is water, there is an element of risk, and as youngsters get bored very easily and may not appreciate the outing like older kids do, we've learned that most parents are happier when they paddle without younger toddlers. Top
How deep is the Pine River?
The average depth is 2 feet. However, it is predictable that on the outside of most bends the water will be 6 to 10 feet in depth. For more information about the Pine, see Pine River Information
Are there places to stop along the way?
Yes, most of our trips run predominantly through State and National Forest lands. On these public lands, you can stop anywhere you wish to relax, wiggle your toes in the sand, swim, eat, etc.
Do you have overnight trips available?
Yes! Overnight trips are very popular on both the Pine and Manistee Rivers. To do the entire navigable portion of the Pine generally takes paddlers 2 & ½ days. The entire Manistee River takes 8 to 10 days. Of course, folks can paddle all or part of either river and both have ideally located campgrounds for multi-day trips.
How is the fishing? Which section is best?
The Pine River is a designated Blue Ribbon trout stream with naturally reproducing populations of brown, brook, and rainbow trout. The entire river is a superb trout fishery. The Manistee supports both indigenous trout populations and a robust warm water fishery in and above the Hodenpyle and Tippy Dam reservoirs. The ten hours of river from Tippy Dam to Lake Michigan is a very popular stretch of river with Steelhead and Salmon anglers.
What should I bring for the trip?
Check out the PRPC What-to-bring-list
How do I get there?
See our interactive Yahoo location map with Get Directions link
What time should we be there?
We take care of paddlers individually as they arrive. The paddling times listed on our Pine River Map page are considered average paddling times. The map shows we have several trip length options. Be sure to factor in time that your group may spend picnicking, resting, swimming, etc. along the way as this will add to the length of your trip. Choose your trip understanding that all craft have to be off the river by 6 p.m. The earlier you start, the more time you will be able to spend on your river trip.
What are your office hours?
Office hours are Sunday through Thursday 8:30am to 7pm, Friday & Saturday 8:30am to 10pm. Our season runs from April 1st through November 1st.
How does the transportation work?
Our paddling guests much prefer to have their vehicles parked where they will end their river trip. So it is our practice to have paddlers follow our van or bus (depending on the size of the group), to their end point, park their vehicle(s) there, and our driver will then transport you to your starting point. This eliminates the need to wait for a bus to arrive at the end point, to fill up before departing, and then drop off various paddlers at their respective starting points or campgrounds.
16 How do I make reservations?
The quickest way is to call 1-800-717-4837 and reserve the craft with your Visa, MC, or Discover Card. All the information we'll ask you for is on the reservation form at http://www.thepineriver.com/reservations/. You can also download and print your completed reservation form and mail it in with check, money order, or credit card number.
What is your Cancellation Policy?
On Sunday through Friday trips, if a situation arises and you need to cancel some of the craft you've reserved, the deposit for the cancelled craft will be credited toward the balance due. If the trip is completely cancelled, the deposit will be refunded, less a $20 processing fee. Our policy for cancellation of Saturday reservations is that cancellations are accepted up to 7 days prior to the trip date; however, there is a $15 charge for each craft cancelled. Cancellations received within 7 days of trip can expect no refunds if we are rented out and have turned other guests away. If we are not rented out, we employ the policy for cancellations received 7 days prior to the trip date.
(18) Do you have group rates?
Yes. For every group renting 5 or more craft we waive the transportation fee. We offer special rates for several types of groups. Visit our specials page for details. Group leaders can download a group organizational worksheet that is very helpful in planning your outing. We also have a What To Bring List that you may want to share with your group.
Do you have an alcohol limit?
For safety and courtesy, we strongly discourage the consumption of alcohol while paddling. It is extremely important to us to preserve a family-friendly atmosphere on our rivers. We prohibit guests from taking any wine, hard alcohol, including Jell-O shots, in our craft, and although we prefer that paddlers wait until they are off the river, we do allow our guests to take up to 3 cans of beer/per adult.
Can I take my dog canoeing, kayaking, or rafting?
Yes & No. Although most folks agree taking their dog(s) paddling is a mistake, some do bring their dog(s). Whether it's a positive or negative experience boils down to how well-behaved the dog is. If you have any doubt about how comfortable and/or controlled your dog will be in the canoe or kayak, it's certainly best to err on the safe side and leave the dog(s) home. Personal protection dogs such as Dobermans or Rottweilers are not allowed in our canoes or kayaks because it's too intimidating for other paddlers with whom you'll be in close contact with along the way. No dogs of any kind allowed in our rafts.
Do you have Old Town Canoes?
We have the largest fleet of Old Town canoes on the Pine River.
Can I put 3 people in a canoe?
Yes. If the third person weighs more than 100 lbs. we charge a fee of $8 for the added wear and tear on our equipment.
Can two adults paddle a tandem kayak?
Yes, but please understand that it is generally much easier for two adults to paddle a tandem canoe. Because tandem kayakers are seated closer together, they are likely to clash paddles while making turns and it becomes logical for the paddler in the front to let the paddler in the back do all the paddling. The ideal application of the tandem kayaks is for a father or mother paddling with a smaller child.
Can five people fit in a 4-man raft?
Mom and dad and three children, yes. Five adults, no.
We are renting paddlecraft from you, however a few in our group have their own craft, will you transport them with us?
Yes, for a fee of $10 per craft.
If we want to bring our own paddlecraft, is there anything else we should know?
Yes. When guests rent craft from us, we provide the necessary parking passes and craft permits. If you bring your own craft, the US Forest Service requires you obtain your craft permit(s) and parking passes from them. See http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hmnf/pages/Recreation/recfee_fees.htm
We have our own paddlecraft. Can you facilitate our transportation?
Yes, we can. Please refer to our Spotting Fee page for more information.

If you have any questions not answered here, please call us at 231-832-3471
or use our Contact form.