Discover “The Pigeon”

Nothing says “All Outdoors” quite like the Pigeon River Country State Forest. This unspoiled wilderness stretching over 3 counties and 114,000 acres contains seemingly endless miles of trails, rustic campgrounds and unique sinkhole lakes, along with being home to one of the largest free-roaming elk herds east of the Mississippi.

Photo by Datema Media

Locally known as “The Pigeon,” this pristine forest beckons to outdoor lovers looking for an off-the-grid experience. And if you’re not sure where to start, we have a few suggestions for you:

Immerse yourself in the forest on some of the most scenic and rugged trails in the Lower Peninsula. Trek out for a few hours on the Towerman’s Watch Pathway or pack up all your gear and tackle the Shinglemill Pathway. Hardcore cyclists will want to visit the 80+ mile High Country Pathway, the only “Epic” recognized trail in Michigan according to the International Mountain Bike AssociationHikingbiking and equestrian use (on designated trails) are all permitted. 

A sportsman’s paradise, The Pigeon has ample opportunities for hunters and anglers alike. Grouse and deer are popular game and acre upon acre of state land leaves room for everyone. Several lakes are stocked with trout each season, but pay close attention to bait and size restrictions. Contact the Michigan DNR office or check out this helpful guide for more information.

There’s plenty of water and it’s not just for fishing. Natural access sites are available on the three rivers winding throughout the forest, offering views of the landscape impossible by foot or car. While the rivers will sweep you off your feet, don’t skip past the captivating sinkhole lakes. Their unique topography can’t be beat and Section 4 Lake is well-known for its sparkling turquoise waters.

And on one final note, be prepared for little or no cell service or GPS. Maps of the area can be picked up at the Pigeon River Country State Forest Headquarters or right at our Visitor’s Center, but navigation can still be tricky with two-tracks and unmarked roads. Remember, this is an adventure!