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Michigan dnr > wildlife viewing guide > southern lower peninsula > maple river

102 Maple River State Game Area Southern Lower Peninsula

wildlife viewing  |  directions and facility information

River and trees View of the river Trail and field
Photo: © Phil Seng


trees in the Maple River marsh
Photo: © Phil Seng

The Maple River State Game Area contains the largest contiguous wetland complex in mid-Michigan. It primarily consists of floodplain, lowlands, and marshes associated with the Maple River corridor. The eastern end of the area has been divided into wildlife management units. These units are easily accessed by US-27 and offer prime wildlife viewing.

Wildlife Viewing

egret on the maple river
Wetlands and floodplains along the Maple River
are home to egrets and many other kinds of
wetland wildlife. Except for tropical rainforests,
wetlands are the most productive habitats
in the world. Photo: © Ray Rustem

Wetland-related wildlife may be viewed here year-round. Spring waterfowl viewing is excellent, as thousands of ducks, geese, and swans stop over in these wetlands on their annual migration to northern breeding grounds. Viewing is best from March through May. Hike along the dikes in Unit A just west of US-27 for a good look at beautiful wading birds and their young. Bring binoculars for best viewing. Herons are extremely plentiful throughout the area. Fair probability of seeing bald eagles and osprey perched on dead snags in area wetlands. A wildlife observation tower and barrier-free viewing blind located in Unit B provide wonderful views of the floodplain/wetland complex. See the area map at the parking lot on US-27 for more detail.

This area is open to public hunting. Check with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for hunting seasons and regulations.


From Lansing, take US-27 north past St. Johns to the Maple River crossing. Just past the river is the sign for the parking lot on the right (east) side of the road.

Ownership: Michigan Department of Natural Resources (517) 373-9358

Size: 9,000 acres

Closest Town: St. Johns, Ithaca

Weather and Driving Directions for St. Johns

Plan Your Trip with travel.michigan.org!

More information can be found by visiting the DNR's site (link leads to web app allowing users to search for campgrounds, harbors, trails and more), or by conducting a Google search:


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