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.

  • #1 Rogue River

    4 Reviews

    Rockford, MI

    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. ...
    •  4 - 6 hours
    •  21 miles
    •  Guide

    A quiet western Michigan river easily accessible to Grand Rapids–area paddlers. The Rogue River is a peaceful, unassuming ...

  • #2 Huron River

    2 Reviews

    Milford, MI

    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 ...
    •  24 - 30 hours
    •  55 miles
    •  Guide

    A highly accessible river with a mellow temperament that makes it a favorite getaway for families throughout the Detroit ...

  • #3 Muskegon River

    2 Reviews

    Houghton Lake, MI

    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 ...
    •  26 - 30 hours
    •  85 miles
    •  Guide

    A sleepy section of Michigan’s second-longest river that is ideal for family camping trips. The Muskegon River is the friendly ...

  • #4 Jordan River

    1 Reviews

    East Jordan, MI

    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 ...
    •  3 hours
    •  9 miles
    •  Guide

    A fun, spirited river that winds through the gorgeous Jordan Valley. The Jordan River offers one of the finest canoeing experiences ...

  • #5 Rifle River

    1 Reviews

    Alger, MI

    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 ...
    •  15 - 20 hours
    •  47 miles
    •  Guide

    Both canoeists and tubers flock to this attractive, easygoing northern river on summer weekends. The Rifle River is one of ...

  • #6 Pere Marquette River

    1 Reviews

    Baldwin, MI

    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 ...
    •  15 - 18 hours
    •  42 miles
    •  Guide

    Michigan’s first National Wild and Scenic River, the beautiful Pere Marquette winds gently through the wooded hills of Manistee ...

  • #7 Manistee River

    0 Reviews

    Grayling, MI

    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 ...
    •  30 - 40 hours
    •  160 miles
    •  Guide

    An undemanding river that features many campgrounds and access points along its banks, the Manistee is ideally suited for ...

  • #8 Au Sable River

    1 Reviews

    Grayling, MI

    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 ...
    •  35 - 50 hours
    •  115 miles
    •  Guide

    One of America’s legendary trout streams, the Au Sable has cool, clear waters and an attractive shoreline—bristling with ...

  • #9 Platte River

    2 Reviews

    Honor, MI

    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 ...
    •  6 - 8 hours
    •  16 miles
    •  Guide

    Challenging in its upper reaches, the Platte turns into a placid, family-friendly float as it nears Lake Michigan. The Platte ...

  • #10 Thornapple River

    0 Reviews

    Hastings, MI

    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 ...
    •  5 - 6 hours
    •  14 miles
    •  Guide

    An easygoing stream that meanders through low southwest Michigan woodlands. The Thornapple River is one of the Grand River’s ...

  • #11 Sylvania Wilderness Area

    0 Reviews

    Watersmeet, MI

    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 ...
    •  Day trip or backpack
    •  Guide

    Michigan’s pocket-sized version of Minnesota’s famed Boundary Waters is a wonderful mecca for wilderness campers, canoeists, ...

  • #12 Betsie River

    1 Reviews

    Thompsonville, MI

    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 ...
    •  15 - 18 hours
    •  41 miles
    •  Guide

    The upper reaches of this pleasant stream encompass a range of paddling options, from sections of swift, twisting river to ...

  • #13 Dowagiac River

    1 Reviews

    Dowagiac, MI

    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 ...
    •  5 - 7 hours
    •  13.5 miles
    •  Guide

    A moderately paced, family-friendly river that winds under a shady canopy of shoreline hardwoods for much of its length. ...

  • #14 Chippewa River

    1 Reviews

    Mount Pleasant, MI

    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 ...
    •  14 - 18 hours
    •  51.5 miles
    •  Guide

    A pleasant, scenic river that winds through the fields and forests of Michigan’s heartland. The Chippewa River is a pretty ...

  • #15 Au Sable River, South Branch

    1 Reviews

    Roscommon, MI

    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 ...
    •  7 - 10 hours
    •  24.5 miles
    •  Guide

    A pleasant, slow-moving stream that is popular with canoeists and fly fishermen alike. Location: Begins at Lake St. Helen ...

  • #16 Carp River

    1 Reviews

    Saint Ignace, MI

    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 ...
    •  8 - 10 hours
    •  19 miles
    •  Guide

    A pretty, twisty river that passes through the Mackinac Wilderness and Hiawatha National Forest. The Carp River is a designated ...

  • #17 Cass River

    1 Reviews

    Caro, MI

    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 ...
    •  7 - 9 hours
    •  23 miles
    •  Guide

    A surprisingly pretty and remote-feeling river near the industrial centers of Flint and Saginaw. The Cass River maintains ...

  • #18 Pretty Lakes Quiet Area

    2 Reviews

    Newberry, MI

    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 ...
    •  Day trip
    •  Guide

    This remote weekend getaway destination features five small and undeveloped lakes protected by no-motor regulations. Pretty ...

  • #19 Little Muskegon River

    0 Reviews

    Croton, MI

    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 ...
    •  9 - 12 hours
    •  26 miles
    •  Guide

    Pleasant and scenic, the Little Muskegon receives little pressure because of its lack of shoreline camping options and log-strewn ...

  • #20 Little Manistee River

    0 Reviews

    Manistee, MI

    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 ...
    •  7 - 10 hours
    •  23.5 miles
    •  Guide

    A quick and narrow river that winds through Manistee National Forest, this favorite of local anglers sees relatively light ...