Nestled in the northwest corner of Michigan lies a kayaking gem that is not to be missed: the Platte River! Being one of the most breathtaking kayaking destinations in the country, the river is known for its crystal-clear waters and picturesque scenery.
Stretching over 27.2 miles, the Platte River flows through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, making for a stunning natural backdrop to your kayaking adventure. Additionally, the river’s clear waters allow for a glimpse into the underwater world and the sandy bottom of the riverbed. As you paddle down the river, you’ll be surrounded by, rolling sand dunes, and also an abundance of wildlife!
Besides, the river has a few rapids and small waterfalls to navigate, adding to the excitement of the journey. Depending on your skill level, there are several different routes and options for exploring the river.
In this article, we will explore what makes the Crystal Clear Platte River the ideal destination for kayaking, provide a list of the 5 best kayaking spots, and provide additional tips for making the most of your kayaking trip to Platte River.
Platte River And its Kayaking Opportunities
Michigan is known for its beautiful natural scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities, and the Platte River is one of the state’s hidden gems.
One of the most notable features of the Platte River is its crystal-clear waters. In addition, the river’s sandy bottom allows for visibility up to 10 feet deep, providing kayakers with an opportunity to explore the underwater world beneath them. And when you paddle along the river, you’ll be surrounded by lush forests and rolling sand dunes! This makes a picturesque and serene experience.
Moreover, the Platte River is a beginner-level kayaking destination with gentle currents and minimal rapids. This makes it an excellent option for those new to kayaking or families with young children. However, the river still offers an exciting experience, with a few rapids and small waterfalls to navigate, adding an element of adventure to the journey.
Moreover, the river is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including eagles, otters, and trout. Paddlers may spot these animals as they paddle along the river.
Besides, there are multiple launch sites along the Platte River, including the Platte River Campground, the Lake Michigan Recreation Area, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. These launch sites also offer easy access to the river and allow kayakers to choose from several different routes for exploring.
For those who want to extend their trip, there are several campsites along the river. This also allows paddlers to spend the night in the great outdoors. However, visitors should be aware of any regulations or permits required for kayaking on the Platte River. This typically means “fishing licenses” or “park entry fees“.
However, it’s important to note that the weather in Michigan can be unpredictable. So kayakers should check the forecast before embarking on their trip and be prepared for changing conditions. Overall, the Platte River offers a unique and unforgettable kayaking experience with its crystal-clear waters, lush forests, and diverse wildlife.
Best time to kayak on the Platte River
The best time to kayak on the Platte River is during the summer months when the weather is warmer, and the water levels are typically higher. The river’s climate is classified as humid continental. The nearby area experiences four distinct seasons with varying temperatures and precipitation levels.
During the summer months (June-August), the average temperature for the Platte River area is around 70°F (21°C). The average precipitation during this time is around 3-4 inches (7.6-10.2 cm), with occasional thunderstorms.
Let’s explore the five best kayaking expeditions on the Platte River;
Best Spots to kayak on Platte River, Michigan
From calm and peaceful stretches to exciting rapids, the Platte River has it all. In this following section, we will explore the best spots to kayak on the Platte River. Each offers unique features and experiences for paddlers to enjoy. However, don’t forget to include these two scenic spots in your trip!
So, if you’re planning a kayaking trip to the Platte River, here are the five best spots to explore:
Platte River State Forest Campground to M22
If you’re looking for a leisurely trip down the river, the Platte River State Forest Campground to M22 stretch is an ideal starting point. This 5.5-mile stretch provides a gentle introduction to kayaking on the Platte River, with calm waters and minimal rapids. Even if you’re a seasoned kayaker, this stretch is worth exploring for its stunning views and tranquil atmosphere.
As you paddle down the river, you’ll be surrounded by the natural beauty of the forest, with towering trees and lush greenery lining the banks. Moreover, the crystal clear waters of the river offer a clear view of the riverbed. You may even spot some fish swimming!
One of the highlights of this stretch is the stunning scenery. When you glide downstream, you’ll see the picturesque views of the forests reflected in the water, creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere. The M22 bridge marks the end of this stretch and provides a convenient pickup point for kayakers. Overall, it’s such a perfect destination for relaxing.
Lake Michigan to the mouth of the Platte River
As you start your journey from Lake Michigan, you will be mesmerized by the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The first few miles of the 8-mile stretch are relatively calm, with gentle currents that allow for a relaxing paddle. Additionally, the clear waters of the river make it easy to spot fish swimming beneath your kayak!
As you approach the mouth of the river, the rapids begin to pick up, and the current becomes stronger. The excitement builds as you navigate through the small but challenging rapids, making it perfect for more experienced kayakers looking for a bit of adventure.
The stretch between Lake Michigan and the mouth of the Platte River is known for its natural beauty, with lush green forests and sand dunes lining the banks of the river. After that, you will come across an abundance of wildlife, including eagles, otters, and various species of fish.
It’s important to note that this stretch of the river can be challenging for beginners, and proper safety measures should be taken. Additionally bring the necessary gear, including life jackets and a sturdy kayak. It’s also recommended to check the weather forecast before embarking on this journey, as strong winds and high waves can make the trip more challenging.
Upper Platte River to Lower Herring Lake
The Upper Platte River Road to Lower Herring Lake stretch is a must-visit for kayakers who want to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Platte River. The area is also surrounded by lush forests and rolling sand dunes, offering a picturesque landscape that will leave you in awe. The crystal clear waters of the river provide a glimpse into the underwater world. Furthermore, you can explore the sandy bottom of the riverbed and the fish swimming beneath you.
As you paddle along, keep an eye out for wildlife sightings. The Platte River is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including eagles, otters, and trout.
One of the unique features of this stretch of the Platte River is the Lower Herring Lake, which also offers a beautiful location to end your kayaking adventure. When you approach the lake, you will see a wide-open expanse of water surrounded by dense forests, offering a serene and tranquil setting. This is also a great spot to take a break and enjoy a picnic lunch.
Platte River Point To Lower Platte River ( Downstream)
This 6.5 miles stretch takes you through some of the most challenging rapids on the Platte River, with several Class II and Class III rapids that will keep you on your toes.
The journey starts at Platte River Point, which is a popular spot for swimming, picnicking, and enjoying the sunset. From here, you’ll paddle through a mix of calm waters and small rapids before reaching the more challenging sections of the river.
One of the highlights of this stretch of the river is the series of rapids known as “The Narrows.” This section of the river is a narrow, rocky channel with a series of drops and small waterfalls. However, it requires careful navigation and quick reflexes, making it a thrilling experience for kayakers who are up for the challenge.
As you continue downstream, you’ll encounter several more exciting rapids. Besides, these rapids offer a mix of drops, waves, and technical maneuvers that will test your skills as a kayaker.
Aside from the rapids, this stretch is also known for its abundant wildlife. Keep an eye out for bald eagles, osprey, otters, and trout as you make your way down the river. The scenery is also breathtaking, with stunning views of the sand dunes and surrounding forests.
It’s worth noting that this stretch of the river can be quite challenging, so it’s important to be properly equipped and prepared for changing conditions. Additionally, kayakers should have previous experience with Class II and Class III rapids before attempting this section of the river.
Compared to the Upper Platte River to Lower Herring Lake stretch, Platte River Point to The Lower Platte River offers a slightly more challenging experience with small rapids.
Additionally, the lower Platte River is a popular spot for picnics and enjoying the sunset, making it an ideal place to end your kayaking trip. Overall, this stretch offers a great balance of excitement and relaxation for kayakers.
Platte Bay To Otter Creek Trailhead
Kayaking from Platte River to Collison Creek is a thrilling adventure especially, if you are looking for a challenge. This stretch of the Platte River provides an exciting mix of calm waters, small rapids, and challenging white water that will test the skills of even the most experienced kayakers.
To begin the journey, kayakers can launch their kayaks at either the Platte River Point or the Otter Creek Trailhead. Both launch points offer easy access to the river and plenty of parking options for those who need it. Additionally, the calm waters at the beginning of the journey provide an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding forests and wildlife sightings.
As you approach Collison Creek, the rapids begin to pick up, and the white water becomes more challenging. In other words, you will need to navigate through the rapids and try to avoid rocks and obstacles
One of the highlights of this kayaking adventure is the stunning views of the sand dunes and wildlife sightings along the way. It’s common to spot eagles, osprey, and other birds of prey, as well as deer, beavers, and otters.
Planning A Kayaking Expedition To Platte River
Before you hit the water, it’s important to plan your trip. The Platte River is located in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which means you’ll need to obtain a parking pass to access the river. You can also purchase a pass online or at the park entrance station.
Here are a few tips to help you plan for your expedition;
Know Where To Launch Your Kayak
The best place to launch your kayak is at the Platte River Canoe & Kayak Rental, located at 5700 N. Scenic Highway, Honor, Michigan.
Besides, they offer a shuttle service to transport you and your kayak upriver to the launch point.
If you have your own kayak, there are several launch sites along the river, including the Platte River State Forest Campground and Dead stream.
Find Routes That Meet Your Plan
There are several different routes you can take depending on your experience level and how long you want to be on the water. For a leisurely paddle, choose M22 and nearby. For a challenging expedition, take Lake Michigan to the mouth of the Platte River route. Additionally, you’ll also find exciting rapids.
Take your time and enjoy the scenery
The Platte River has known for its crystal clear waters, stunning sand dunes, and abundant wildlife. Take your time and enjoy the beauty around you.
Other Activities and Attractions in the Area
In addition to kayaking, the Platte River area in Michigan offers a wide variety of outdoor activities for adventurers. For nature enthusiasts, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a must-visit destination. Stretching miles of pristine beaches, towering sand dunes, and stunning overlooks, the park offers endless opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife spotting.
For those seeking a more adrenaline-fueled adventure, the area is also known for its world-class fishing, with the Platte River and nearby lakes and streams teeming with trout, bass, and other game fish. Hunting, ATV riding, and mountain biking are also popular activities in the area. Besides, you’ll find numerous trails and public lands.
Amenities & Lodging Options
When it comes to amenities and lodging options, visitors will find a range of choices to suit their needs and budget. Additionally, the Platte River area offers numerous campsites and RV parks, many of which offer easy access to the river and other outdoor attractions. For those looking for a more luxurious experience, there are also a number of resorts and rental properties in the area.
Overall, the Platte River area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation in a stunning natural setting. Whether you’re a kayaker, fisherman, hiker, or simply looking to escape the hustle!
Lastly, kayaking on the Platte River in Michigan is a thrilling adventure that offers stunning scenery, exciting rapids, and unforgettable memories. With crystal-clear water, beautiful forests, and abundant wildlife, the Platte River is a kayaking destination that should be on every adventure seeker’s bucket list!
Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a beginner, plan your kayaking expedition on the Platte River today and share your story with us!
Yes, we want to hear about your kayaking expedition on the Platte River! Share your story with us and let us know about your experience. Whether it was a solo adventure or a group outing, we want to hear about the challenges you faced, the beautiful sights you saw, and the memories you made. Your story could inspire others to embark on their own kayaking adventure on the Platte River.