The Wild and Scenic Sturgeon River rushes out of the northern portion of this Wilderness, over the 20-foot volcanic outcropping of Sturgeon Falls, and through a gorge that reaches 300 feet in depth and a mile in width. Throughout this rugged, steep Wilderness, the Sturgeon and Little Silver Rivers and their tributaries have carved falls, rapids, ponds, oxbows, and terraces. Stunning views are possible from the eastern rim of the gorge. Except for a few naturally bare slopes, most of the land is forested with pine, hemlock, aspen, sugar maple, birch, and basswood. When the leaves of the hardwoods change color in fall, they form a vivid tapestry. On a trek through here you might see deer, bears, mink, otters, beavers, skunks, and foxes. Woodcocks and ruffed grouse are common, and bald eagles and ospreys are seen on occasion. Streams do not produce many trout, and the endangered lake sturgeon finds habitat farther downriver. There are few established trails in Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness, and a few overgrown logging roads are hard to find and follow. The North Country National Scenic Trail parallels the northern and eastern boundaries for about eight miles. Sturgeon River Campground offers nine sites on the southeastern boundary. In spring and during peak runoff, kayaking and white-water canoeing are challenging, and only recommended for advanced paddlers.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.