Rivers in Michigan

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Rivers in Michigan

There are more than three hundred rivers in Michigan.Rivers in Michigan They’re not all worth visiting, though. Some are majestic, beautiful, and absolutely divine. These rivers must be experienced by anyone who wants to go camping and canoeing in Michigan. They’re even worth visiting if you seek nothing more than the humbling silence of nature.

There are eleven rivers that are considered essential stops for those planning a trip around the rivers in Michigan. They are detailed below.

Kalamzoo River

This is one of the rivers in Michigan that just seems to go on and on forever. It practically does, at 130 miles in length. You can spend your entire trip to the north paddling down this river, and you’ll finally find yourself exiting into Lake Michigan. There is nothing quite like the site of seeing the sun set on the lake as you paddle into it.

If you include the South Branch, the entire river length extends to a total of 178 miles. It really is a trip in and of itself.

Grand River

This is the longest of all of the rivers in Michigan, at 252 miles in length. It passes through Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Lowell, Ionia, Portland, Grand Ledge, Lansing, Eaton Rapids, and Jackson. Plenty of people enjoy the abundant fishing, as well as kayaking, canoeing and white water rafting.

The river also has hundreds of tie-off sites where campers like to pitch their tents for a night of sleeping by the water. It’s best to rely only on the official sites so that your trip stays as quiet and peaceful as possible – some locations are more prone to raucous gatherings than others.

River Rouge

127 miles long, the River Rouge is a part of the Detroit metropolitan area. It ends by flowing into the Detroit River, which also serves as the border between Detroit and the city of River Rouge.

There are plenty of parks along the Rouge, including the Rouge River Bird Observatory, the Gateway Greenway Trail, the River Rouge Park, and Greenfield Village. It provides a great route for those looking to experience the more historical aspects of the rivers in Michigan.

Au Sable River

One of the many rivers in Michigan that empty into Lake Huron, the Au Sable runs a total length of 138 miles. Brown trout fishing is a popular activity on the Au Sable, and is one of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources blue ribbon trout streams. If you’re looking for fishing, then you shouldn’t pass up the Au Sable.

There are four historical markers on the river, including the Cooke Hydroelectric Plant, the Five Channels Dam Worker’s Camp, the Louis Chevalier Claim, and the Mio Hydroelectric plant. There are also a number of events and attractions that take place along the Au Sable’s banks, including:

  • The Weyerhaeuser Au Sable River Canoe Marathon
  • The First Dam Canoe Race
  • Bird watching habitats
  • The Michigan Au Sable Valley Rail Road

Manistee River

This is one of the rivers in Michigan that simply can’t be overlooked. The natural environment surrounding the 190 miles of the Manistee River is absolutely gorgeous. Wildlife sightings include herons, moose, and more.

This is one of the more popular recreational rivers, though, so you won’t be able to find the serenity of nature in too much abundance. Instead, you will find plenty of opportunities for fishing, boating, and swimming.

Muskegon River

Want to visit one of the rivers in Michigan that make it easy to spot otters in the wild? Then the Muskegon is your best choice. You can also find beavers and eagles if you keep your eye out.

The river empties in Lake Michigan via a mile long channel. Its headwaters start in Houghton Lake. Many find the wild regions surrounding the river to be perfect for camping and hunting.

Platte River

One of the shortest rivers in Michigan worth visiting, the Platte River is located in the Lower Peninsula, to the north. Three boat launches, three picnic areas, and one canoe launch make it easy to use the Platte for recreation. It isn’t heavily trafficked, meaning you’re more likely to find peace and quiet on the Platte than many other rivers in Michigan.

Two Hearted River

The Two Hearted river is absolutely gorgeous all year round. The rustic architecture that dots the riverside will bring you to a time you thought was long passed. The amazing, lush, and ample forests that the Two Hearted river cuts through will have you longing for a time that was much simpler.

On the Two Hearted River, you can experience nature as Earnest Hemingway did. The river was the subject of one of his most famous short stories, “Big Two-Hearted River.” Whose footsteps could be better to follow in when you seek a return to nature?

Huron River

At 130 miles long, this seemingly boring river is overlooked by many tourists and locals. It doesn’t seem very special and has all of the traits one would expect of a Michigan river, including muddy banks, a slow flowing stream, and an easy gradient.

But it is in this normalcy that the Huron makes its point. It is the only river that can really provide a taste of just about everything the state has to offer. If you are making your first trip to Michigan to explore its rivers, then you should definitely use the Huron as the main focus of the entire excursion.

River Raisin

This is one of the most popular rivers in Michigan for bird watchers. There are a number of dams and power plant intakes that prevent the river from changing drastically during the seasons, including changes typically caused by migrating fish.

Because of this, the River Raisin has become a standard flyway for bald eagles, sandhill cranes, many types of ducks, and seagles.

The River Raisin is also popular for those looking for reliable and consistent fishing, as the white suckers, channel catfish, bluegills, walleyes, carps, black buffalo, freshwater drums, and smallmouth bass don’t migrate – the dams prevent it.

There’s nothing quite like paddling down the River Raisin and being able to see a bald eagle swoop down and catch a carp.

Brule River

The Brule is a shorter river in Michigan. It measures in at only 52 miles long. 45 miles of the river are dotted with stop and start points for canoeing excursions. With only one dam on the river there is little to interrupt these trips.

Campsites dot the shores, as well, and most of the shoreline is still publicly owned. There is a huge fishing community here, too, as the quality and quantity of the stock is exceptional. Smallmouth Bass, Brown Trout, Brook Trout, and Northern Pike can all be found in seemingly limitless amounts.

Pick a River, Any River

It doesn’t really matter which river you choose to focus on when you make your trip. There are a number of benefits to visiting each, and all of them provide access to virtually untouched areas of wilderness.

If what you really want out of your trip is a fantastic experience, then plan a week long excursion that provides access to several of the rivers in Michigan, and you’ll be sure to get what you’re looking for.

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