Before you shake your head and say “no way!” to winter rafting, let’s clear one thing up from the get-go: NO, YOU WILL NOT GET WET! This is a guided trip with experienced professionals calling the shots. If you’ve ever been spilled out of your kayak or canoe into the brisk waters of the Sturgeon River, we can understand your hesitation. But hear us out and keep reading because we would hate for you to go home without experiencing one of Gaylord, Michigan’s most extraordinary winter experiences.
So many winter activities are dependent on the weather – Is there enough of a base for snowmobiling? Did a fresh foot of the fluffy stuff just change your cross country skiing plans? Whether we’re experiencing epic accumulation or a sudden January thaw, winter rafting is just as rewarding of an adventure. Also perfect for families, couples, friends or co-workers, virtually every combination of travel companions will love partaking in a picturesque paddle together.
No winter trip to our Alpine Village is complete without experiencing one of northern Michigan’s hidden gems, rafting the scenic and serene Sturgeon River. With outfitters in Wolverine and Indian River, a quick jaunt north is well worth the hours of fun and entertainment!
Plan your winter rafting trip with our free Visitor’s Guide!
Winter rafting trips give you the opportunity to float through some of the loveliest, most peaceful forests in our area. Imagine yourself surrounded by cedar and pine trees, their verdant branches draped with crisp, white snow. The only sounds are the bustle of wildlife (yes, you’ll see plenty) and steady rush of water along the frozen banks. Sounds pretty fantastic, doesn’t it?
Here’s a Quick Lesson in Winter Rafting 101:
1. Once again (and not for the last time – we’re going to keep pushing this one) you will not get wet. Well, there might be an occasional little splash from your paddle, but this is not a wet and wild ride where you emerge looking like an icicle.
2. Winter rafting is a safe activity for the whole family. While the Sturgeon River boasts the fastest current in the Lower Peninsula, you will be in good hands with an experienced guide. Just check with your outfitter on age restrictions ahead of time.
3. Newbies are welcome! Don’t let this adventure pass you by because you think you only have land legs. Your guide will teach you everything you need to know, including when it’s time to paddle and when it’s time to just sit back and watch the world go by. And trust us, get those images of class 4 whitewater rapids out of your mind – you’re embarking on a pretty relaxing journey.
4. Dress for winter fun, which means snow pants, a warm jacket, hats, gloves, etc. As we stated above, you will not get wet, so leave the raingear at home. Bring a thermos of something to keep you extra toasty and you’ll be good to go.
5. Most importantly, bring your friends, your family, the co-workers you never have time to get out with and your camera, because you will want to remember and share this truly unique outdoor experience for years to come.
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Check out these friendly outfitters, just a quick drive north of Gaylord:
Located just 25 minutes north of Gaylord in the quaint community of Wolverine is Sturgeon River Paddlesports. With over 17 years of experience, Jamie Jacklitch and his team know this river inside and out. Not only will you be surrounded by the tranquil beauty of the dense forest, but rafters can look forward to learning interesting facts and history about the river.
Keep heading north on I-75 and you will cruise into Indian River, home of Big Bear Adventures. Established in 2001, Big Bear Adventures offers winter rafting excursions that promote teamwork and enjoyment. Immerse yourself in the great outdoors with friends, family or co-workers for some of the best winter memories you will ever make!
Once again, in case you didn’t read through and just skimmed to the end – NO, YOU WILL NOT GET WET! Happy rafting and share your Instagram photos with us using #GaylordMichigan.