Best Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing in Michigan

This list represents the most popular flatwater kayaking & canoeing in Michigan. Use this list to plan your next Michigan flatwater kayaking & canoeing trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

Learn more about Top Trails

#1. Rogue River


A quiet western Michigan river easily accessible to Grand Rapids–area paddlers. The Rogue River is a peaceful, unassuming stream that is ideally suited for an easy morning or afternoon paddle. Its upp…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Rockford, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 21 miles Best Trail in mi - Click to view allBestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#2. Huron River


A highly accessible river with a mellow temperament that makes it a favorite getaway for families throughout the Detroit metropolitan area. The Huron River is a constant and comforting presence in the…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Milford, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 55 miles Best Trail in mi - Click to view allBestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#3. Muskegon River


A sleepy section of Michigan’s second-longest river that is ideal for family camping trips. The Muskegon River is the friendly giant of Michigan rivers. It is the state’s second-biggest river (next to…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Houghton Lake, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 85 miles Best Trail in mi - Click to view allBestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#4. Jordan River


A fun, spirited river that winds through the gorgeous Jordan Valley. The Jordan River offers one of the finest canoeing experiences in the entire state. Michigan’s first federally designated “Wild and…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
East Jordan, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 9 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#5. Rifle River


Both canoeists and tubers flock to this attractive, easygoing northern river on summer weekends. The Rifle River is one of the most popular streams in the entire state on summer weekends. It possesses…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Alger, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 47 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#6. Pere Marquette River


Michigan’s first National Wild and Scenic River, the beautiful Pere Marquette winds gently through the wooded hills of Manistee National Forest. The Pere Marquette—or “PM,” as it is known to its legio…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Baldwin, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 42 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#7. Manistee River


An undemanding river that features many campgrounds and access points along its banks, the Manistee is ideally suited for family camping outings. A top-tier fishing stream that also ranks as one of Mi…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Grayling, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 160 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#8. Au Sable River


One of America’s legendary trout streams, the Au Sable has cool, clear waters and an attractive shoreline—bristling with launch sites, campgrounds, and forestland—that make it tremendously popular wit…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Grayling, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 115 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#9. Platte River


Challenging in its upper reaches, the Platte turns into a placid, family-friendly float as it nears Lake Michigan. The Platte River offers two vastly different paddling experiences, depending on wheth…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Honor, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 16 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#10. Thornapple River


An easygoing stream that meanders through low southwest Michigan woodlands. The Thornapple River is one of the Grand River’s major tributaries, but only a small portion of its 100-mile length is good…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Hastings, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 14 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#11. Sylvania Wilderness Area


Michigan’s pocket-sized version of Minnesota’s famed Boundary Waters is a wonderful mecca for wilderness campers, canoeists, and anglers. Michigan’s Sylvania Wilderness is a place where the mournful c…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Watersmeet, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Published by Falcon Guides

#12. Betsie River


The upper reaches of this pleasant stream encompass a range of paddling options, from sections of swift, twisting river to quiet marshlands teeming with wildlife. The Betsie River is navigable by cano…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Thompsonville, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 41 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#13. Dowagiac River


A moderately paced, family-friendly river that winds under a shady canopy of shoreline hardwoods for much of its length. The Dowagiac is an attractive tributary of the St. Joseph River. Shaded by ov…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Dowagiac, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 13.5 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#14. Chippewa River


A pleasant, scenic river that winds through the fields and forests of Michigan’s heartland. The Chippewa River is a pretty and easily accessible stream that slices through the midsection of Michigan’s…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Mount Pleasant, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 51.5 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#15. Au Sable River, South Branch


A pleasant, slow-moving stream that is popular with canoeists and fly fishermen alike. Location: Begins at Lake St. Helen in Northern Roscommon County and flows into southeastern Crawford County befor…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Roscommon, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 24.5 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#16. Carp River


A pretty, twisty river that passes through the Mackinac Wilderness and Hiawatha National Forest. The Carp River is a designated Wild and Scenic River that is ideal for early season overnight expeditio…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Saint Ignace, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 19 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#17. Pretty Lakes Quiet Area


This remote weekend getaway destination features five small and undeveloped lakes protected by no-motor regulations. Pretty Lakes Quiet Area is an unassuming little paddling sanctuary that is ideal fo…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Newberry, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Published by Falcon Guides

#18. Cass River


A surprisingly pretty and remote-feeling river near the industrial centers of Flint and Saginaw. The Cass River maintains a wild, remote character despite its close proximity to the major industrial a…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Caro, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 23 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#19. Little Muskegon River


Pleasant and scenic, the Little Muskegon receives little pressure because of its lack of shoreline camping options and log-strewn river corridor. In some ways, the Little Muskegon River is overlooked…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Croton, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 26 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#20. Little Manistee River


A quick and narrow river that winds through Manistee National Forest, this favorite of local anglers sees relatively light paddling traffic. The Little Manistee is an attractive stream that offers g…
From the guidebook "Paddling Michigan"
Manistee, MI - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 23.5 miles
Published by Falcon Guides