Best paddle sports trails in Michigan

1,477 Reviews
Explore the most popular paddle sports trails in Michigan with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Map of paddle sports trails in Michigan
Top trails (38)
#1 - Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
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Length: 9.6 mi • Est. 3 h 51 m
Both the Upper and Lower Falls have their own unique beauty. The Upper Falls drops more than 50 feet and is more than 200 feet wide, while the Lower Falls consists of five smaller falls that go around an island. The water has a unique amber, or "root beer," color due to tannins from local trees. The area around the Lower Falls in particular can get very muddy. Accessibility: The estimated average grade for the entire trail is 3% and the max grade is 20% so there are sections that may be too steep for wheelchairs, mobility equipment, or strollers without assistance. You can drive to each of the Falls and there are accessible overlooks. There is a loaner wheelchair available for the Upper Falls trail at the "Fact Shack" in the parking lot. The Lower Falls trail is partially paved/boardwalk and partially gravel with a max grade of 5%. There are some staircases shown along this trail but it is unclear whether they are part of the trail or part of side routes. Trail may be slippery due to mud, snow, or ice.Show more
#2 - Hemlock Crossing Park
The Nature Center at Hemlock Crossing
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Length: 9.3 mi • Est. 3 h 57 m
#3 - Flat River Trail
Tower Park
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Length: 8.3 mi • Est. 3 h 30 m
#4 - Ridge Trail, Island Trail, and Lost Lake Trail Loop
Ludington State Park
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Length: 5.7 mi • Est. 2 h 30 m
#5 - Huron River - Oakwoods Metro Park Path
Oakwoods Metropark
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Length: 12.6 mi • Est. 5 h 11 m
#6 - Old Mission Peninsula Lighthouse Park
Old Mission Point Park
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Length: 0.3 mi • Est. 7 m
#7 - Mason Tract Pathway
Huron National Forest
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Length: 9.0 mi • Est. 3 h 49 m
#8 - Little Muskegon River
Manistee National Forest
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Length: 3.6 mi • Est. 1 h 42 m
#9 - Cherry Island Marsh Trail
Lake Erie Metropark
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Length: 1.6 mi • Est. 39 m
#10 - Manistee River: Hodenpyl Dam to Rainbow Bend
Manistee National Forest
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Length: 35.1 mi
This ~35 mile overnight kayak trip starts at the Hodenpyl Dam Portage and travels 35 miles along the Big Manistee River to the Rainbow Bend Boat Launch. You can plant a car at Rainbow Bend and drive to Hodenpyl Dam with a second car to put in. No overnight parking is allowed at the dam so park your second car at the Marilla Trailhead about a mile away and walk to the dam. The most scenic and remote portion of the trip is by far the first section from Hodenpyl Dam to Red Bridge. This portion is a Semi-Primitive Non Motorized Area, so you will not see any boats disrupting the solitude. Campsites are plentiful along this ~11 mile stretch of the river due to the MRT on the east banks. This section takes slightly under 3 hours to paddle with no stops. According to Manistee County's website, floating this section takes about 4 hours. Day two you can travel to Blacksmith Bayou Campground just past High Bridge at about the 25/26 mile mark. This section of the Manistee involves a more strenuous paddle up the Tippy Dam area which has almost no current and plenty of boats creating waves. However this is also a beautiful area with plenty of drive in sites right on the river. Once you reach the Tippy Dam, the kayaks have to be portaged over the dam. This is where packing light pays off. Once at the top of the dam it is easy to let the boats slide down the grass on the other side. This area of the river on the downstream side of the dam is a popular fishing destination. The nearby campground also launches large groups of day kayakers so if you would like to avoid these groups get an early start past this point. From Tippy Dam to Rainbow Bend is the most populated portion of this trip. A two night trip is recommended, camping one night between Hodenpyl & Tippy Dam and one night at Blacksmith Bayou or other nearby site.Show more
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