Muskegon River

Muskegon River
Muskegon River
Country United States
State Michigan
Cities Evart, Big Rapids, Croton, Newaygo, Muskegon
Source Houghton Lake [1]
 - location Itasca State Park, MI
 - coordinates 44°23′58″N 84°47′27″W / 44.39944°N 84.79083°W / 44.39944; -84.79083
Mouth Muskegon Lake
 - location Muskegon, MI
 - coordinates 43°15′41″N 86°14′53″W / 43.26139°N 86.24806°W / 43.26139; -86.24806
Length 212 mi (341 km)
Basin 3,250 sq mi (8,417 km2)
Map of the Muskegon River

The Muskegon River is a river in the western portion of the lower peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan. The river has its headwaters in Houghton Lake in Roscommon County, flowing out of the North Bay into neighboring Missaukee County. From there it flows mostly southwest to Muskegon, Michigan, where it empties into Muskegon Lake. Muskegon Lake is connected to Lake Michigan via a mile-long channel. The river has several major branches, such as the Hersey River, Cedar Creek and Little Muskegon River. The main stream is 212 miles (341 km) long and drains an area of 3,250 square miles (8,400 km2).[2]



Like many of its neighboring streams, the Muskegon was one of the favored logging rivers during the boom years of the 1880s-1890s, and a keen eye can still pick out remnants of stray logs left over from the spring logging runs which embedded on the river bottom.


There is abundant wildlife, including otters, waterfowl, deer and eagles and, although development has been creeping in, the upper reaches are still fairly remote and natural with much of the surrounding land composed of state-owned tracts.


Croton Dam Muskegon River DSCN1104.JPG

In recent years, the river has gained a certain measure of fame as a recreational fishery, boasting large migratory steelhead, brown trout and planted Pacific salmon.


The three major dams of the Muskegon River (Rogers, Hardy and Croton) generate about 45,600 kilowatts with about 30,000 of that from Hardy Dam. That is enough electricity to serve a community of nearly 23,000.[3]

Name Height Purpose(s) Capacity (MW) Year Owner name Reservoir name Coordinates Comments
Croton 40 ft (12.2 m) Hydroelectric 8.85 1907 Consumers Energy Croton Dam Pond 43°26′14″N 85°39′50″W / 43.43714°N 85.66382°W / 43.43714; -85.66382 (Croton Dam)
Hardy 106 ft (32.3 m) Hydroelectric 30 1931 Consumers Energy Hardy Dam Pond 43°29′12″N 85°37′47″W / 43.48656°N 85.6296°W / 43.48656; -85.6296 (Hardy Dam)
Rogers 43 ft (13.1 m) Hydroelectric 6.75 1906 Consumers Energy Rogers Dam Pond 43°36′48″N 85°28′44″W / 43.61320°N 85.47894°W / 43.61320; -85.47894 (Rogers Dam)
Total 45.6


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