We’ve all seen the suspenseful climax of an action-packed movie when the protagonist is paddling down a river and suddenly sees the ferocious whitewater churning ahead of them. Just when you are rooting for them to escape the fall, they tumble over the edge and down the cliff — and survive. Watching the suspense is one thing, but what if you could live through the thrill yourself? Here, you can! Whitewater rafting in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula takes adventuring to the extreme. Spring offers the best conditions for rafting thanks to the snow melt contributing to massive water flow. One of the best places to experience this thrill is Piers Gorge in Norway Township.

Whitewater rafting guides at Piers Gorge

If you want to experience the thrill yourself, you’ll want to do it with someone who knows their way through these rapids. Lucky for you, our outfitters are experts at working with all skill levels. They’ll make you want to hike right back to the top and plunge down again!


True North Outpost & North Woods Adventures

Choose from a three-hour public rafting trip, private rafting trip or mini expedition at this outfitter


Tarka’s Whitewater Journey

Choose between a rafting trip or a rafting expedition that includes camping at Tarka’s!

Upper Peninsula Whitewater rafting tips

We asked True North Outpost to give some tips for those willing to take on the adventure, here’s what they had to say: 

  • Book a trip with an outfitter and don't try to do this on your own. Unless you have proper equipment and experience, this is not a river to be trifled with. These are big rapids, powerful and potentially dangerous if not approached with the proper safety, experience, and equipment. If treated with the proper respect this can be one of the most exhilarating and rewarding experiences you can find in the Midwest.

  • Know the conditions you are about to experience. In the spring, you will find higher flows and colder water. We may want to equip you with wetsuits and spray jackets. Base layers that are not cotton are important also. In July, we generally find swimsuits are all we need; but on cold, rainy days and early in the season, wearing proper base layers vs. not wearing them can mean the difference between a wonderful experience and a miserable one.

  • Trips run rain or shine. Unsafe water levels may cause trips to be canceled or shifted to other rivers, but if it is raining we are likely still going out. 

  • Wear proper shoes. You will get wet — so wear shoes that you are ok with getting soaked. You'll want to have a shoe that straps behind your heel and covers your toes to protect them from the rocky, uneven waters. Old gym shoes are also perfect.

  • Wear straps on your glasses.  

  • Listen to your guide. The trip begins with flatwater and smaller rapids. Your guide will run you through lessons designed to give you the skills necessary to make it through the gorge successfully. It is important to listen and take this seriously so that when you get to the first big drop (Mishicot Falls), you are ready. 

  • This is an adventure sport — so unexpected things can happen.  Your frame of mind matters in all circumstances. Remember that in the event you are ejected from the raft, it isn't the end of the world. During your training in the early part of the trip, you will have been taught how to best handle this situation and you will have practiced this in the flatwater section.  

  • Children under 12 years old can have fun rafting above and below the big rapids, but they cannot go through the Class IV section of the river. 

  • Weekday trips are less crowded and less expensive than weekend trips. 

  • Make sure to check the time zone of your outfitter! Some are in the Central Time Zone.

  • Dams on this river provide a lot of power and as a result control the flows. After the Summer Solstice (right around June 21), the dams begin operating in summer mode. They tend to reduce flows when power prices are low and increase flows as the price of power increases. This generally results in higher flows in the afternoon. You can see the current flow rate of the gorge here. Generally speaking the ideal flow is between 1,500 CFS and 3,200 CFS. As flows go above and below this range the river becomes more challenging and has less forgiveness for mistakes.

Plan your U.P. whitewater rafting trip now! 

Spring is the perfect time to embark on a new, whitewater adventure! Schedule your rafting trip today, and then plan the rest of your U.P. vacation. Book a stay overnight so you can fill your trip with more thrills.


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We would love to see your favorite spring scenes and adventures! Use our hashtag #uptravel for an opportunity to be featured on our social media, website or in our marketing materials. You can also upload your photos to our Spring Photo Crowdriff Collector below.