The lower 26-miles of the Pine River was designated a National Scenic River in 1992. The Pine River provides a unique recreation experience for lower Michigan, supporting quality opportunities for a diversity of recreation activities in a relatively undeveloped setting. Canoeing and kayaking are the primary activities on this river, with much of the appeal being the fast water and light rapids. The Pine River offers the fastest average flow of any river in lower Michigan.
Scenery is one of the most outstanding attributes of the river. The designated portion of the river contains a unique riparian landform with its deeply incised river channel and high, exposed sand banks. Diverse vegetation contributes to the overall "scenic" feel of the river.
Watercraft permits are required in the designated Wild and Scenic section of the river from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, and are available at recreation.gov. There is a recreation day use fee at the four boat launches and a camping fee at the campground.
Camping is only allowed at Peterson Bridge Campground in the Wild and Scenic section, several of the 30 sites are reservable at recreation.gov. There are 20 paved camping spurs and 10 walk-in sites.