river trips

Looking for a river with flat to mild current water, clean and with bank or island camping anywhere in Ohio or Michigan for a few day getaway. nothing extreme may have young children or half naked coed afraid of spiders and snakes, haha. I live near the Maumee in Ohio, but it is rather shallow in the warm weather west of Maumee Ohio, which means a lot of walking in 3’’ water. Please help!


Couple of ideas for river trips in MI
Two rivers in MI which are nice to canoe on are the Manistee river and the Au Sable river. The Manistee has camping almost anywhere along it’s course except where there are residential areas. Fairly fast river, about 4-6 mph. Great scenery and pretty isolated. There are lots of campsites areas that others have used, just look for areas in the sand on the banks where people have gone up and down. Clean water and great fishing if you are into that. The Au Sable is another nice river. Again similar characteristics as the Manistee.

Head to Barnes and Nobel, Amazon, etc. There are a couple of Paddle Michigan books that will list more rivers than you can paddle in a lifetime. Whitewater is a whole different beast. I own the first two.




Also fill out your profile, it helps people respond appropriately to the kind of paddling you enjoy and your geographic area.

… if its not to far. The northern part is in national forest (Kinzu) and most of the islands are ANF, a few are private. There are a couple primitive campgrounds Danner in Kennerdale and Franklin (?)that offer a sitting position for a restroom. You need to haul water or filter it. Kennerdale (private access) to Emlenton (public access) is a nice day trip about 17 miles.

Water is pretty smooth except for the Oil City rapids but anywhere above Parker it moves along OK. In mid summer you are dragging.

Sportsman, slow your pace

– Last Updated: Apr-19-14 10:51 AM EST –

Research the South Branch Au Sable via the Mason Tract. Put in at Chase Bridge, or even further upstream in the vicinity of Roscommon. You can camp the first night at a spot called Canoe Harbor. Keep an eye out for the chapel. On the afternoon of the 2nd day you can make it to the main Au Sable River. There are many paddle-in-only campsites, some Michigan DNR and some Huron National Forest. If I recall correctly, the national forest ones require reservations (which can be done online), whereas the state ones are first-come-first-serve with an envelope honor pay system. Cathedral Pines and Campsite #84 are particularly beautiful. There are several bridges/launch spots where you can safely spot a car to take out. Depending on how far downriver you want to go, there are up to six dams to portage. The Au Sable has a good spring-fed flow and there are some quickwater sections but no real rapids. You'll see some cabins and camps but there are some wilderness-y sections too.

I paddled the Manistee last Fall starting from Grayling and it's a great trip too. It struck me as having more riverfront cabins than the Au Sable, but they are interesting to look at, and there are some very isolated stretches too. Hodenpyl Pond is a tough traverse because it's so silted in and the portage is harder than the dams on the Au Sable. But the section below the dam is fantastic -- several miles of Class I and secluded camping. Red Bridge is a good place to take out, or Loomis Landing on Tippy Dam Pond.

Both of these rivers meander unceasingly and will have significant strainers to dodge in the narrower upriver stretches, so you'll want boats that are maneuverable when loaded with camping gear.

Interestingly, the Au Sable and Manistee originate within 2 miles of each other. Apparently the native Chippewa and fur trappers used to portage between them via Lake Margrethe to traverse the entire state.

Also in that vicinity is the Pine River, which is more of a day or 1-night trip, but it could be combined with doing a section of the Manistee. Give the guys at Pine River Paddlesports a call for some trip ideas and shuttle service.

Manistee river
I’ve done the Manistee river starting in at the Missaukee Bridge and going down to Mesick. Lots of nice places to camp along the river.

paddle location
I would head for Michigan. The Ausable is hard to beat.

I have the third guidebook, the 1st
edition, and it has been helpful without any of the serious lapses that afflict some guidebooks.

Lots of nice rivers, but not wilderness and one must expect to know what land is public or do stealth camping.

Trivia. The “big” and Middle F.
Vermillion in Illinois start within a few miles of one another in farmed prairie. The big Vermillion runs NW past Pontiac, through the evolving Wildcat Shoals, to the Illinois. The Middle Fork Vermillion, Illinois’ only wild and scenic river, runs SE past stripmine lakes to the Wabash.

On Michigan rivers, I swear I paddled the Galien back in '85 from Warren Woods down to Lake Michigan. But on subsequent visits it has been hopelessly tree clogged. Apparently in '85 flushing rains and clearing by fishermen made the Galien clear enough to pole and paddle. Now it’ll never make the guidebooks.

Because of such issues, it’s best for someone without local knowledge to focus on larger rivers that keep themselves clear, or that are kept clear by local outfitters. That means less wilderness, but easier going.