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Sturgeon River Gorge

16.25 miles

July 2023

Rock & roll!  I'd dreamed of paddling the rapids through the Sturgeon River Gorge and finally got my chance in the summer of 2023.  The Class II-III rapids are nothing to sneeze at and some of the most technical water I've done in the Upper Peninsula yet (solo at that).  There are a ton of exciting Class II rapids above the falls, as well as lots of very scenic flat water as you wind your way through the wildnerness.  Things pick up just above Sturgeon River Falls which makes for a thrilling do-or-die exit to the right for a last-second portage.  

After portaging around the falls because I don't want to die, things get really fun as the rapids increase to Class III in places.  The waves and rock shelves below the falls are super exciting!  You definitely need a boat made for these conditions and some experience or you're gonna have a bad time.  

I put-in at the bridge on the south end and pulled out at the bridge at the northern end, then biked back to the start.  The Prickett gauge measured 520 CFS and the Tibbetts Falls gauge said 300 CFS.  A little shallow in spots but otherwise totally runnable.

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