Escanaba, Manistique, etc - UP canoeing

Going to the UP with my wife, kids (3 yrs. old), and her parents - in July. Staying in Mackinaw, but planning a day paddling trip within 3 hours driving distance. Since they do not paddle frequently like myself, I’m looking for a relatively easy river (so I’m not playing rescue every 30 minutes). The 15-miler on the Manistique (through Seney Refuge) looks appealing - primitive, public land - but what’s the difficulty level? And how about the Escanaba…any sections that work for a family day trip? Tried calling Soaring Eagle Outfitters…no answer.

Open to other rivers. Would like to avoid the crowds.

Thanks, Nolan in Missouri

Trip through Seney
would be nice. All flatwater, but lots of switchbacks requiring a fair level of steering ability.

Second the vote for the Manistique R. through Seney. Very remote feeling with no cottages. The river is narrow and winding, but the current is very gentle so it’s easy paddling. Used these folks for my shuttle:

They also outfit for the Fox R. which I’ve not paddled. Avoiding crowds on liveried rivers in MI (or anywhere) is problematic in the summer months. Best bet for semi-solitude is to go mid-week.

Northland Outfitters. Great people and
they have a very nice campground with an onsite store.

Our “ladies only” group stayed there last July and did two sections of the Manistique. Lovely area.

It should work well for your family.

The Escanaba River
is more technical than the Manistique; I’d also recommend the latter for a family trip. Seney is great, with a huge variety of wildlife, so if you can spend a little time there, check out the visitor center and do the wildlife drive in addition to your paddle.

indian river…

– Last Updated: Jun-18-10 3:45 PM EST –

...up-river from stueben is a nice trip. we got the owner of the little store in stueben to shuttle us up to H-13 for $20.00. we were told that the down-river stretch from stueben was impassible. also, the wide waters chain of lakes, upstream of H-13, was a nice paddle and the bass fishing was great. double check water conditions on the escanaba before you commit. we drove there from lansing, 2 years ago, only to find no water. the manistique and fox, in the seney area, are very nice trips. also consider the two-hearted. the upper stretch can be problamatic, due to log jams, but the lower stretch is wonderfull.

also, be aware that things happen (or don't) at a different pace in the u.p. not returning phone calls or keeping appointments is a way of life up there. they're not being malicious, just moving at their own pace.

is a wonderful family float down to the state campground. We had the whole campground to ourselves one year, right next to the water. No road noise, perfect privacy. That was late in September, and I imagine it’s not as private during the summer. But the river is gorgious.