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Pere Marquette Lake Loop

West Coast/Lake Michigan, Michigan

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Pere Marquette Lake Loop

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  • Looking out into Lake Michigan from Pere Marquette Lake.- Pere Marquette Lake Loop
  • Paddling near the S.S. Badger Carferry.- Pere Marquette Lake Loop
  • The now defunct S.S. Spartan provides parts to the S.S. Badger.- Pere Marquette Lake Loop
  • Paddling around the Pere Marquette Lake provides unique perspectives of Ludington.- Pere Marquette Lake Loop
  • The Occidental Chemical Corporation.- Pere Marquette Lake Loop
  • Tall reeds near the east end of the lake.- Pere Marquette Lake Loop
  • Purple Loosestrife near the put-in.- Pere Marquette Lake Loop
  • Birds often nest in the deadstands near the eastern end of the lake.- Pere Marquette Lake Loop
  • Sturgeon can sometimes be seen in the shallows.- Pere Marquette Lake Loop
  • A swan glides over the lake.- Pere Marquette Lake Loop
  • Enjoying the scenery on Pere Marquette Lake.- Pere Marquette Lake Loop
  • The boat ramp at Father Marquette Memorial Park.- Pere Marquette Lake Loop
  • The lighthouse near the confluence of Lake Michigan and Pere Marquette Lake.- Pere Marquette Lake Loop
  • Views of Ludington's Waterfront Park.- Pere Marquette Lake Loop
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Unique perspective of Ludington. Great birdwatching opportunities.
Cons: 
Motor boat traffic.
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Region:
West Coast/Lake Michigan, MI
Access: 
Vehicle
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Site characteristics: Water: 
Lake
Motorized watercraft allowed: 
Yes
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Portage required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Put-in location (lat, long coordinates): 
43.927554, -86.416732
Shuttle required: 
No
Take-out location (lat, long coordinates): 
43.927554, -86.416732
Total Distance: 
7.00 mi (11.27 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Typically multi-day: 
No
Water difficulty: 
Easy / Class A
Water temperature: 
68.00 °F (20.00 °C)
Current Local Weather:
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Paddle Description

Paddle Description

Contributor

Paddling on the Pere Marquette offers a blend of nature and wildlife viewing with a unique perspective on the town of Ludington. The best put-in can be found at a public boat launch on the Pere Marquette Highway where it crosses the Pere Marquette River about 1 mile south of the intersection with Highway 10. Other put-ins include Father Marquette Memorial Park, the Peter Copeyon Park, and the Ludington Municipal Marina.

From the public launch, paddlers will head downstream through a narrow meandering channel leading to the lake. After passing under a low bridge, paddlers can continue to the left to enter a marshy area with tall reeds. It’s not uncommon to see swans and carp in this area. The reeds offer plenty of small coves to explore, but the main loop extends west toward Lake Michigan.

The southern shoreline is mostly undeveloped, but residences become more common closer to Lake Michigan. It’s possible to paddle out to the lighthouses at the entrance to Lake Michigan, but beware of large boat traffic.

Crossing to the north side of Pere Marquette Lake offers a unique look at the Waterfront Park. Continuing to the east, paddlers will pass the retired S.S. Spartan Carferry and may pass the S.S. Badger, which is still in service. Both ferries began crossing the lake in the early 1950s, primarily carrying railroad cars to ports in Wisconsin. The Spartan is kept to provide spare parts to the Badger, which is 410 feet long and can carry 180 cars and over 600 passengers. The trip from Ludington, Michigan, to Manitowic, Wisconsin, takes about four hours.

As paddlers return toward the Pere Marquette River, they will also pass Occidental Chemical Corporation, which is one of the largest oil and gas companies in the U.S., before reaching more natural scenery. Bear to the right after returning under the bridge to reach the public put-in.

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