How to take a winter rafting trip on the Pine River in Michigan

WELLSTON, MICH. – People say it feels like floating in a snow globe.

Winter rafting is one of the most beautiful and memorable activities you can do this time of year, which is why the Pine River Paddlesports Center – a West Michigan livery owned by the same family for 50 years – now offers winter floats for the first time.

“It’s a whole different experience,” said Alaney Miltner, who co-owns the livery with her husband, Jacob. “We often see bald eagles flying above us. It’s just absolutely beautiful.

Rafting in the winter is not quite the same as the Michigan River summer floats that you have probably done. For starters, the rafts are small, Miltner said, and they sit high out of the water so participants don’t get wet – although it is advisable to wear warm, water-resistant clothing as a snow pants and a winter jacket to stay warm and dry. any snowfall.

These rafting trips are also guided, with the guide sitting in the raft with the guests or canoeing right in front. There is also no white water on these trips.

“It’s very safe, it’s very stable, it’s very isolated,” Miltner said.

And the beauty is unbeatable: the wildlife, ice formations, and snow-capped landscapes are just a few of the sights you can enjoy as the Pine River – a wild and scenic federally designated river – meanders through the Manistee National Forest.

Pine River Paddlesports winter rafting trips take around 75 minutes, which the Miltners say is long enough to soak up the scenery without getting too cold. They also offer an optional three mile hike along the Silver Creek Trail by the river at the end of the trip.

Travel is offered seven days a week and reservations are required. Rates are $ 50 / person for two people and $ 40 per person for groups of three to nine people. Each raft can hold about four to five people. All ages and experience levels are welcome too.

For more information visit the Pine River Paddlesports Center’s winter rafting webpage, or consult their Facebook page.

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