Paddling in Thunder Bay/Alpena, MI area?

We will be near Alpena, MI (on Lake Huron) in June. Any recommendations for good paddling/put-in points in this area would be appreciated. Things to be aware of weather and water-wise would be helpful from folks with experience in this area.

Steve & Linda
(SW Ohio, USA)

We live near Ossineke on Lake Huron. Our favorite paddling launch points are the DNR boat launches on the Devils River or Black River and then head towards Negwegon State Park. You can launch from the park as well but its a bit of carry from the parking lot. Miles of uninhabited beach. We launch from the south end of Mishekewis park and paddle into town. There are shipwrecks near the harbor. Or paddle towards Partridge point and Sulfur Island. The point also has a park where you could launch if you are willing to wade through a mucky part. People hunt fossils there. Squaw Bay, south of Partridge Point, is great for wildlife. A couple days ago we counted 8 bald eagles and 5 trumpeter swans and much else. On a windy day the old duck park off of Chisolm Street has a Kayak launch on the Thunder Bay River. A nice easy paddle. Be careful on the big lake, watch the weather reports for wind direction and speed. Have fun.


Welcome to the forum.

Thanks for all of the useful information - we sure appreciate you taking the time to provide it!

We will be in the area 6/12 - 6/19.

That’s great info, jwj. Thanks.

Last time I paddled Lake Huron was in an Epic V7 during the Paddle Relay. I primarily paddle Lake Michigan, but have wanted to get back to the sunrise side of the state. That Black River launch site sounds perfect, as does Negewgon State Park.

We drove to the Black River access point today to check it out (on our way from Spruce to Alpena). Looks great - very short paddle to the big lake. Will launch from there during the week.

We drove through Ossineke too.

Thanks again!

Update: We put-in from the Black River site today and paddled out to Black River Island. Took our lunch along as it was about that time of day. There were hundreds of birds (mostly gulls) on the island. It was very loud. Needless to say - we didn’t go ashore there.

We mostly paddle on inland lakes - as that is what is near our home. We’ve been in Huron before, barely in Superior (at a great-lakes kayak symposium), and Erie (off of Kelly’s Island). We don’t have a lot of experience with wind-driven waves - but the wave heights we’re in our comfort zone and we gained some good experience.

Thanks again for the put-in information!