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Rifle River Recreation Area is located in Michigan and covers an area of nearly 4,500-acres, offering a wide variety of terrain and activities for visitors. The land was privately owned until 1945 when it became a field laboratory for the Department of Conservation. In 1963, Rifle River Recreation Area was acquired by the Parks Division and opened to the public.
Within the recreation area, you’ll find ten lakes and numerous streams making boating and fishing two of the most popular activities. You can easily explore the park using the 14-miles of trails either on foot, bike, or skis in the winter. With four campgrounds to choose from, it is a great area for camping with an RV.
The nearest town is Lupton, offering basic facilities, and just a few miles west is Rose City. On the shoreline of Lake Huron, a short drive east is the town of Tawas City. The Great Lakes area is easy to explore when you book an RV in Ogemaw County.
With ten lakes in total and five large well-stocked fish lakes, fishing is one of the main activities offered in the park. The lakes offer varying habitats and a range of fish, including perch, bass, sunfish, pike, bluegill and more. RV camping at Rifle River Recreation Area could be perfect for the dedicated angler. Motorized boats are not permitted within the park, and note that the 13-acre Jewett Lake is catch and release only.
There are 14-miles of trails in the park, connecting the various lakes and campgrounds, and two main hiking trails. Pintail Pond Nature Trail is an easy loop of around 0.8-miles, around Pintail Pond, that starts and ends near the main campground.
Slightly more difficult is the Rifle River Loop that is graded as a moderate hike of just over 2.7-miles. This trail also begins and ends at the main campground and takes you past Grousehaven Lake, Grebe Lake and Lodge Lake. Much longer hikes are also possible on marked trails throughout the park.
There are four campground areas at Rifle River Recreation Area. Campground 1 has around 75 modern sites with electrical hookup. Most of the sites are in at least partial shade and on grass areas. There is a swimming beach, a playground for the children, and a boat launch. In the center of the campground are modern washrooms with showers and toilets.
The other three campgrounds are located a short distance from campground 1, but all the sites are rustic, having no services to connect to. Each of these campgrounds has a water supply point and pit toilets, but no showers. This is basic motorhome camping. The sites are secluded and mostly under shade, providing a peaceful and relaxing vacation spot.
When you decide on RV camping at Rifle River Recreation Area, particularly at the rustic sites, pick up essential supplies and gas in the town of Rose City, just a mile or so west. A little further to the southwest is the city of West Branch, which offers extensive shopping and facilities, including an outlet center.
Each August, since 1980, the annual Ogemaw Country Fair has taken place in West Branch. This week-long event has a bit of everything, with music, entertainment, parades and more. One special event during the fair is the living Antique Village. Within the village are several historic buildings, some dating back to the 1860s packed full of antiques.
The Church in the Woods is a more modern building, built using red pine logs. The Village Press is housed in a small log cabin and contains a Chandler Price platen jobber printing press, that dates back to at least 1920. There’s also a single room schoolhouse, a general store and a blacksmith shop among others. During the fair, the buildings and surrounding area are transformed by volunteers in period dress, bringing the village to life.
Also in West Branch is Irons Park, a 12-acre recreation area on the edge of the city. Along with lovely gardens, a creek flowing through the center and a covered bridge over it. You’ll find a range of activities including tennis and basketball, plus picnic areas, barbecue facilities, playgrounds, and restrooms. There’s a 5-mile hiking loop around the park, and in the winter there’s a sledding hill. For a bit of fun, try geocaching in the park, a kind of smartphone treasure hunt.
On the outskirts of the town is the West Branch Disc Golf course, with plenty of parking for your rental RV. If you’ve never tried Disc golf, perhaps now could be a great time, with all the family enjoying a fun walk around the course.