UP Michigan question

Going to be in the Chicago area late August and was interested in spending 2-4 days exploring the Michigan area. Heard a lot about the UP. Figured we would fly in somewhere to save time so I would need an outfitter in the area. suggestions? Nothing to crazy with portages, would be first time with a newbi. Looks like a long drive from chicago and time is a factor, thanks.

It takes a hard one day’s drive to get
to the UP from Chicago, so be sure you like your plane flight arrangements better.

Sylvania Wilderness
Sylvania- http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/ottawa/recarea/?recid=12331

Six hours of driving from Chicago. A small aircraft can land very nearby in Land-O-Lakes Wisconsin. There’s an outfitter that can set you up with everything you’d need. Outfitter- http://www.sylvaniaoutfitters.com/index.html

Large area
The UP covers a lot of territory.

Here’s a list:


Going have to do some research, thanks. What about other Michigan areas closer to Chicago? Suggestions?

Door County Peninsula Wisconsin
It’s a bit closer (~ good 4 hr drive) from Chicago.

I have not lived in Wisconsin for many years but there were some very nice remote, scenic paddling spots on the Door Peninsula. Some spots on the inside bays are sheltered. Paddling on the lake you would want open water paddling skills. I believe there are many many outfitters offering tours, cabins, etc etc.

perfect time to visit the U.P.

– Last Updated: Mar-26-15 7:22 PM EST –

Water is warmer. Blackflies are gone. Stable flies are down. Mosquitos are down. Tourist are down. Weather tends to be drier.

Sylvania Wilderness is a great place to get lost in miles of flatwater lakes. Here's a map:


It's a drive, but on the way you can see:

fort michilimackinac
one of the midwest' best "night sky" parks
The mackinac bridge
tahquamenon falls
pictured rocks
piers gorge
grand island

Marquette (great little college town on lake Superior)

If you were a sea kayaker you could circumnavigate grand island, paddle pictured rocks, the keweenaw water trail or hiawatha water trail.

the paradise only begins at Paradise (MI).

The UP has some awesome…
spots as others have said, but you don’t have to go that far for beautiful Michigan. West side of the lower peninsula has some great rivers (weekdays to miss the crowds), and Sleeping Bears Dunes with the Manitou Islands.

Great Lakes
I wouldn’t be in a rush to take a “newbie” paddling on the Great Lakes. The ave temp for Superior is in the 40’s. I would suggest north from Chi town to Northern Wi and maybe making it to the U.P. The U.P is rustic and towns are small. The larger the town, the colder the water. you said a few days. You would spend one just getting there. Lots of small lakes with rentals in Northern Wi that would allow more time on the water and less time in the car. If the U.P is a must, the Garden Penninusla might offer some protection from open water. Door County for sure. Eagle River Wi has a chain of many lakes and all kinds of rentals. Cheers

the UP has other lakes

– Last Updated: Mar-26-15 9:40 PM EST –

Plenty of them.

Dave is right in that the northwest lower peninsula have some good flatwater spots as well, and a bit more accessible, if less remote and undisturbed. Like Door Peninsula. It depends on what you're after.

I go to paddle lake superior every chance I get in late august, and I've always gotten in a swim. Even last year. Water temps were in the mid 60s. But you're right, superior is not for novices.

Thank you, looks like many wonderful places to explore. Thank you for all of the suggestions. I have some fun homework to research now. Appreciate it, will try to keep you updated. Just hope weather is good.

Keweenaw or Eastern UP
The UP is a great place to explore. Some outfitters that I know of are Keweenaw Adventure Company in Copper Harbor (Keweenaw Peninsula) and Woods and Waters Ecotours in Hessel ( Eastern UP - Les Cheneaux Islands). Plenty of great places in the LP as well. Popular rivers are best done on weekdays of during the off season unless you like company.

If you like rivers…
Lower P has some nice ones, esp for newbie friend :

Manitee near Pickerel Lake, Pine, Betsy (don’t step out of boat into silt…it sucks), and there’s more.

Au sable

Pete Marquette

Platte (both)

This is what I was talking about in my original reply.

The Pere Marquette is my favorite, although the Pine is really fun.

Pine is beautiful
Ever Bo the plates, or betsie river?

As an aside-Frankfort is such a cool town.

Two Hearted River mentioned yet?
I believe there is an outfitter nearby.

Yes-another good one

Frankfort is…
a nice town. My wife and I stayed at a B&B there about 20 years ago. The blueberry pancakes alone were worth the price of the stay.

Earnest lied to protect his fishing hole. That said, I understand the the Fox is an easy & scenic paddle.