Looking for northern Michigan kayaking

My wife and I are new to kayaking and we love it! We keep our kayaks on Lake Charlevoix (northwestern Michigan), but would like to try some slow river kayaking and are looking for recommendations of where to put in and come out on rivers in northern Michigan. Our vexing problem is, how do we get back the car when we’re done?

ask a local outfitter

– Last Updated: Jun-03-14 3:00 PM EST –

...about rivers and streams in your area. Maybe the Jordan? The Boardman near TC is also worth checking out. Outfitters in TC but I'm not sure about Charlevoix.

As far as getting back to your car, you'll either need your feet, a bike or a car. And a lock for bikes and boats.

Some people paddle both directions.
For slow rivers, paddling both directions is no big deal, and that’s another way of dealing with the vehicle situation. If you paddle the rivers both ways, do the upstream leg first until you gain some experience judging the time and effort that will be needed to go a certain distance.

With two people, the use of two vehicles may be an easier option than paddling both ways. Using the aforementioned bike maybe be fine too. Eventually you can find friends to go with you (who bring their own car).

Paddle back the other shore
It’s slow as in calm river, right? Just paddle back, easiest is to paddle upriver then come down.

It is the normal way to paddle the rivers around here, like the Hudson and the Mohawk. Shuttles are primarily needed for white water, where paddling back against the current is just not going to hppen.

Doh! forgot the chains of lakes
one from Elk Rapids to Torch Lake, and one from Cheboygan to Crooked Lake.

These are both slow enough to paddle both ways. Other than that, the rivers I know are too swift to do so but aren’t whitewater.

Some are bike friendly.
The Jordan and the Sturgeon are both very bike shuttle friendly. Much of the Boardman is as well. The Betsie isn’t bad and you can go upstream a good ways from one of the lower take outs with out too much trouble.

And then there is the Iron Mushroom:

The Iron Mushroom

Mesick to Irons

September 28 to September 30 2013

Expedition Style- self supported at all times.

Participants are assumed masters of their ship with safe piloting skills and efficient wilderness traveling technique.

Start at the Mushroom Bar and Grill in downtown Mesick @ 2pm

Portage 1 mile on M-115 to the Manistee River

Put in and head down stream over and down 2 hydro dams to Manistee Lake

South to the Little Manistee River

Up river to Johnson Bridge

Portage north on Brooks Rd. 3 miles to Irons

Finish at Jackie’s Place by September 30 @ noon

This is from the Kruger Canoes people. Going DOWN the Little Manistee can be tough form many paddlers.