Traverse City MI Paddling

Heading up to vacation near Traverse City in mid-June and looking for any suggestions on places to paddle in the area. I plan on bring my Pamlico 140 and OT Otter to use on Lake Leelanau. I dont think either is appropriate for Lake Michigan (unless in a protected bay or right at the coastline).


We ran the last 4 miles of the Platte
down to Lake Michigan. If it is wet up there, there is another little river up at the north end of Bear Dunes monument. Quite a few more are described in Dennis and Date, “Canoeing Michigan Rivers” which may still be available. Hope I remembered the Grand Portage location correctly.

Boardman River
The Boardman River is very nice for paddling. There is a 20 mile canoe race at the beginning of July each year down the Boardman River to Traverse City.

Cedar - South end Lk. Leelanau
Put in at the little park in Cedar on Victoria Creek (I think that’s what it’s called). You can paddle as far down stream as you want and back upstream again (it’s slow) or paddle all the way to Lake Leelanau.

It’s easy paddling and marshy, lot’s of wildlife. There is one place along the way you can veer off to explore a pond. Very beautiful place to paddle.


Jorden River is a nice little run if you
are going up East Jorden way. Shooting through the pipes is fun. Most paddlers do the upper part several times. Lower is flat and boring.



Drive up west side of peninsula and
paddle over to and around Ford Island. Ford Island is old name from when Ford owned it. Not sure what it is called now, but you can not miss it, the big island in west bay.