36,350 river miles, 11,037 inland lakes
What’s your pleasure? Settle into 10 of Michigan’s top canoe treks.
- Best Canoe Trail: The Ludington State Park Canoe Trail is a six-mile, three-hour paddle into serene Hamlin Lake’s ponds, coves and marshes (VisitLudingtonStatePark.com, (231) 843-2423).
- Best White Water in the Lower Peninsula: When the Stronach Dam was removed in the 1990s, Manistee National Forest’s Pine River became even faster (Pine River Paddlesport Center, thepineriver.com).
- Best Water View: The Crystal River’s name is well-deserved: This easy, seven-mile paddle to Glen Arbor is like floating on liquid glass (Crystal River Canoe Livery, crystalriveroutfitters.com).
- Best Fall Color Paddle: Don’t miss this 15-mile stretch of the Au Sable River winding through the Mason Tract east of Roscommon come early October.
- Best Wilderness Paddle: The Two-Hearted River is a 20-mile trek through the U.P.’s wilds, ending at a remote stretch of Lake Superior (Rainbow Lodge, rainbowlodgemi.com).
- Best Moonlight Paddle: Comprised of long, narrow bodies of water, Antrim County’s upper Chain of Lakes is memorable on a serene summer evening (Jordan Valley Outfitters, jvoutfitters.com).
- Best Epic Paddle: Start paddling the Manistee River in Crawford County’s northwest corner and don’t stop until you reach Manistee, 10 days and 170 miles later (Wilderness Canoe Trips, manisteerivertrips.com).
- Best River for Birders: Long ago a logging run to Lake Superior, the AuTrain River today meanders a relaxing four hours past sloughs loaded with songbirds, waterfowl and herons (Dana’s Lakeside Resort, danasresort.com).
- Best Paddle for Bluegills: You can’t drive to Wakeley Lake east of Grayling, but the portage is short and once you’ve carried your canoe in, you’ll find trophy-size bluegills and bass in this non-motorized trove (Ray’s AuSable Canoeing, 989-348-5844).
- Best End to a Canoe Trip: Slow, shallow and family-friendly, the lower Platte River’s two-hour journey ends at one of Lake Michigan’s most beautiful beaches (Riverside Canoe Trips (canoemichigan.com).