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Cheboygan River Watershed


Groups That Work in the Watershed | Projects Sub-Watersheds | Lakes Greater Than 20 Acres  Surface Area of Lakes Greater Than 20 Acres Road/Stream Crossings

The Cheboygan River Watershed drains 1,493 sq miles of Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, and Otsego Counties in northern Michigan. Originating as many headwater streams that eventually flow through a series of large lakes, this watershed empties into Lake Huron at the port of Cheboygan.

The Cheboygan River Watershed boasts some truly huge lakes. Burt, Mullett, and Black lakes- the 4th, 5th and 8th largest inland lakes in Michigan, respectively- are part of this watershed. The Inland Waterway, the state’s longest chain of rivers and lakes that stretches nearly 40 miles, begins in Cheboygan. Historically heavily used by Native Americans for transportation, then transportation of felled trees during the logging era, the Waterway is still a tourist attraction. The relative groundwater loading to this watershed is the highest for any watershed in the Lower Peninsula, especially in the southern half of the watershed where the Sturgeon, Pigeon and Black rivers begin near Gaylord, which drain into Burt, Mullett and Black lakes, respectively. Eventually the Cheboygan River drains into Lake Huron at the port of Cheboygan. The Cheboygan River itself makes up only a small portion of the Cheboygan River Watershed.

Opportunities for outdoor recreation abound in the Cheboygan River Watershed due to the vast tracts of publicly-owned land that it contains. Nature lovers can find plenty of places to hike, bike, watch birds, pick berries and morel mushrooms, fish, hunt, camp, ski, snowshoe, kayak or canoe, or ride horseback. Most of the watershed is covered by forest, with patches of wetland here and there. Water quality is generally quite good, and the watershed contains the Pigeon, Sturgeon and Black rivers, which are blue ribbon trout streams. The Black River and Black Lake are also home to the threatened lake sturgeon.

Groups That Work in the Watershed


Cheboygan River Sub-Watersheds

  • Beebe Creek-Sturgeon River
  • Black River
  • Boyne River
  • Brush Creek
  • Carp Lake River
  • Club Stream
  • Cold Creek-Maple River
  • Cornwall Creek-Pigeon River
  • Crapo Creek-North Branch Au Sable River
  • Crooked River
  • Crumley Creek
  • Douglas Lake
  • Fivemile Creek-Frontal Lake Michigan
  • Four Lakes-Maple River
  • Gokee Creek-Black River
  • Greene Creek-Frontal Lake Huron
  • Hasler Creek-Burt Lake
  • Horseshoe Bend-Frontal Lake Michigan
  • Lake Huron
  • Lansing Club Pond-Pigeon River
  • Little Black River
  • Little Pigeon River
  • MacAndrews
  • Lake-Little Pigeon River
  • Maple Hill Cemetery-Bear River
  • Maple River
  • McIntosh Creek-Pigeon River
  • McMasters Creek
  • Milligan Creek
  • Minnehaha Creek
  • Mossback Creek-Sturgeon River
  • Mud Creek
  • Mullet Creek
  • Mullet Lake
  • North Branch Boyne River
  • Ostego Lake-North Branch Au Sable River
  • Pickerel Creek-Sturgeon River
  • Pickerel Lake
  • Roaring Brook-Frontal Lake Michigan
  • Round Lake-Black River
  • Saunders Creek-Black River
  • Section Seven Creek-Black River
  • Silver Lake-Black River
  • South Branch Pigeon River-Pigeon River
  • Spring Brook
  • Stewart Creek-Black River
  • Stewart Creek-Sturgeon River
  • Tannery Gully-Cheboygan River
  • Thumb Lake-West Branch Sturgeon River
  • Turtle Creek-North Branch Au Sable River
  • West Branch Sturgeon River
  • Wilkes Creek-Pigeon River
  • Wycamp Creek-Frontal Lake Michigan

Lakes Greater Than 20 Acres

  • Arnott Lake
  • Big Lake
  • Bows Lake
  • Burt Lake
  • Cochran Lake
  • Cornwall Creek Floodin
  • Crooked Lake
  • Devereaux Lake
  • Douglas Lake
  • Galloway Lake
  • Grass Lake
  • Hackett Lake
  • Hardwood Lake
  • Hoffman Lake
  • Lake Eighteen
  • Lake Marina
  • Lake Nineteen
  • Lake Thumb
  • Lancaster Lake
  • Lance Lake
  • Lansing Club Pond
  • Larks Lake
  • Lewis Lake
  • Mullett Lake
  • Munro Lake
  • Oley Lake
  • Olund Lake
  • Pickerel Lake
  • Pickerel Lake
  • Roberts Lake
  • Round Lake
  • Silver Lake
  • Silver Lake
  • Vincent Lake
  • Weber Lake
  • Wildwood Lake
  • Woodin Lake

Surface Area of Lakes Greater Than 20 Acres

45057.8 Acres

Source: Huron Pines, NEMCOG & EPA

Last updated on Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Watershed Facts


Green Timbers
Indian River



Recreation Areas

Aloha State Park
Burt Lake State Park
Cheboygan State Park
Mackinaw State Forest
Onaway State Park
Otsego Lake State Park
Pigeon River Country State Forest

Major Tributaries

Black River
Cheboygan River
Crooked River
Indian River
Maple River
Pigeon River
Rainy River
Sturgeon River

Watersheds Upstream


Watersheds Downstream

Lone Lake-Ocqueoc

Road/Stream Crossings


Northeast Michigan Council of Governments
80 Livingston Blvd. | PO Box 457
Gaylord, MI  49734
(989) 705-3730 | nemcog.org

Great Lakes Restoration Northeast Michigan Council of Governments US Environmental Protection Agency

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