UP of Michigan paddling

My wife and I are heading up to the UP for a weeks vacation in late Aug. or early Sept. We will hit Pictured Rocks for a couple of days, then head towards Newberry or maybe Manistique looking for some decent river paddling. We’re experienced and paddle solo boats. I’ve gone through the Michigan River guide, now we’re looking for some advice/suggestions from you’all, segments, rivers, whatever!


Two Hearted River
is a fair bit east of where you’ll be going but is a nice day paddle. There’s a campground at the mouth where it empties into Superior that has a looong beach of rocks…nice walk, nice Northern Lights last time I was there. The campground folks (Rainbow Lodge) will shuttle. DON’T do the section above the bridge. Lost count after 12 nasty pull/climb overs. Some dangerous with floating logs studded with broken off branches and no way to get on shore.

There are a couple rental places in Germfask that run sections through the Seney Wildlife area…good for waterfowl and small critters. Lot’s of switchbacks.

Google is your friend.

A few ideas
You could check into a few spots nearby.

After hitting pictured rocks you could move west a bit and head out to Grand Island. There is a ferry that goes out but it is an easy paddle across the bay, plus the spot is pretty weather friendly, you just pick which side of the island to check out depending on weather.

A bit further west, maybe 20 minutes out of Munising you will hit a town called Au Train. I’ve never paddled it myself but it is very popular. You can put in at the lake and take a slow meandering paddle out to lake superior. There is also some bridge entries though I am unsure of the exact routes.

The Manistique river, along with great portions of Seney are right next door, lots of opportunities there.

Good luck!

I’ve got a couple
Try the Manistique. You can start upstream from the M-77 crossing and paddle downstream to your hearts content. There are a couple good days of paddling there.

Another nice paddle is the Indian. You can start at Widewaters NFS campground and paddle the entire river to Indian Lake. It’s a wonderful small intimate river above the 437 Bridge that is doable in a day. Or you can paddle the entire river in two days. Much of the river is in the Hiawatha NF so you can camp whereever you want. There are some places along the river where drive in access at the top of the bluff is possible via dirt roads.

A bit further east is the Carp River. We did that too as a two day from 123 to St Martin’s Bay. This river gets virtually zero paddling traffic. There are stretches where the water gets pretty thin in a dry summer, though I’ve done it without any issues in normal water years.


Affirm what PK said regarding
the Manistique and Indian rivers. Very nice & quiet.

A couple friends and myself did about an 8 mile section of the Indian, below the park he had mentioned, last summer and only encountered one portage due to a downfall of 3-4 very large trees. The portage had been marked with orange ribbon tape on the right side of the river and was fairly easy walk through the forest. We didn’t go all the way to Indian lake but it was a very nice paddle, even though it was raining slightly.

Our ladies only group (32 showed up) stayed at Northland Outfitters, which is located alongside the Manistique River in Germfask, for the weekend and paddled two different day trips on this body of water. Very nice, great outfitter, and onsite store. They have a website.

Enjoy our beautiful state.