Pigeon River Country

LAT 45.169742°, LONG -84.439495°, 9984 Twin Lakes Road,
Vanderbilt, MI 49795
Accessible Features
Historical Site
Open Year-Round

Located in the north-central part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, just a few miles northeast of Gaylord, it is removed from civilization, and that’s what makes the 106,000-acre “Big Wild” so special. It is the home of the largest free-roaming elk herd east of the Mississippi.

If you’re planning a trip to the Pigeon, keep in mind that it’s managed differently than other state forests. To retain that “wild character” that provides an opportunity for a remote, undeveloped, backcountry experience, it isn’t peppered with a lot of infrastructure and signs. This doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to explore – you just have to be ready for an adventure. Opportunities include elk viewing, camping, hiking, horseback riding, and fishing. 

The Discovery Center is a seven-room historic log cabin, each room has a different theme. Original documents and photographs, quotations and recorded interviews educate visitors about the forest’s history, the people who loved it, the controversies that shaped it, and its many recreational offerings. Multi-format exhibits highlight the delicate balance of forest life, man’s role in that balance, and the results of good decision making over the last 100 years. Outdoor education programs for all ages are offered throughout the year. Free admission.

Elk in the Pigeon River Country
River, woods and grassland of Pigeon River Country
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