Canoeing the Paint River in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan


This video documents an early April canoe trip on the North Branch of the Paint and the Paint River proper in the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

My original plan was camp at the Paint River Forks campground and spend 3 days doing day trips on Cooks Run and the North and South Branches of the Paint. All three of these streams as well as the first five miles of the Paint proper are federally designated National Wild and Scenic Rivers (see https://usfs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=48262db980954ea48dac65dec8cdf01c).

After scouting the put-ins and take-outs, I decided to amend my plans and skip Cooks Run and the South Branch (due to low water) and instead do 1 day on the North Branch of the Paint followed by an overnight trip on the Paint.

Day 1: 11-miles on on the NB of the Paint from Gibbs City Rd to the Forks. There were no obstructions and plenty of water for paddling. There are several riffles and easy class I rapids. There were a couple of short narrow stretches thru alders, but they didn’t present a problem. Scenery was very good. Wildlife was outstanding. I saw several otters, 2 swans, an owl, and numerous deer and ducks. I didn’t see much for camping opportunities. It took me 3 hrs 45 minutes to paddle 11 miles. Next time, I’d start 5 miles further upstream at Forest Hwy 16.

Days 2 and 3: 30 miles from the Forks to Crystal Falls. The shuttle is about 30 miles each way (which I did solo with my truck and motorbike). There is a good landing on river left just above the dam in Crystal Falls.

Even though maps show that most of the route is in the national or state forest, there must be a lot of private in-holdings because there are a surprising number of homes and cabins along the route. There are good camping opportunities in the vicinity of the mouth of the Hemlock River, at Upper Hemlock Rapids, and at the mouth of Chicagon Slough. You could eke out a spot for 1 tent at a few other places, but the above named places are really the only decent spots for multiple people.

There are good landings at the defunct Block House campground, at Bates-Amasa Road bridge, at Erickson Landing on Sheltrow Rd (about 5 miles upstream of Crystal Falls) and at the Crystal Falls dam. There is also a public landing about 2 miles downstream from the confluence with the Net River. However, the road near the river is for high ground clearance vehicles only and away from the river it’s just a muddy 2 track, so not a good option in the spring. The landing at the Bates-Amasa Road is paved. Erickson Landing is a good landing operated by Biwabik State Park, so a Michigan Recreation Passport is required.

There is good current down to about the confluence with the Net River, then it slows down for several miles. There are a couple of short class I-II wave trains after the slow stretch.

I camped among large white pines near the start of the portage trail around Upper Hemlock Rapids. There is space for about 3 tents. Someone has constructed a 3′ tall metal grill/table over a fire ring and there is a large metal cooking pot (suitable for a fish boil) suspended from a rope. In spite of that, the site is clean and otherwise not abused.

Upper Hemlock Rapids is a little more challenging than I felt comfortable running by myself. There are 3 pitches. Any one of the pitches by itself, or if the water had been warmer, or if I had been with a group, I may have been tempted to run it. But since I was by myself in the early spring, portaging was the prudent option. I’d estimate the portage was about ¼ mile long. There were a few downed trees and a hill ~2/3 of the way through, but it was better than risking a swim in the ice-cold water.

Upper Hemlock is followed by about 1/4 mile of flat water before you get to Lower Hemlock. Lower Hemlock is much more challenging than Upper Hemlock. I’m not even sure I’d run it in my fully outfitted whitewater canoe (at least not at this water level) let alone in a tripping boat full of gear. The guide book I have (Canoeing Michigan Rivers by Jerry Dennis and Craig Date) makes it sound like the portage around Lower Hemlock is much more challenging than the one around Upper Hemlock, but I found that not to be the case. If anything, I think the Lower Hemlock portage is easier as it’s slightly shorter and flatter. There is a long boney class I run out after the meat of Lower Hemlock Rapids, so perhaps if you portaged that stretch, the Lower Hemlock portage would be worse than the Upper Hemlock portage.

It took about 2 1/2 hours to get through the Upper and Lower Hemlock stretch, but that’s doing 3-trip portages and lingering looking at the rapids. But I was relieved in that it seemed less arduous than I had anticipated given the guidebook description.

Below Lower Hemlock, the river alternates between moving water and calm water all the way to Crystal Falls.

It took me 7 hours to get from Upper Hemlock Crystal Falls (including the 2 1/2 hours I spent at Upper and Lower Hemlock).

Keeping Clean When Camping

Among the most awful sensations when you go to rest out in the shrub is when you are unclean. When you are camping its simple adequate to obtain unclean; establishing outdoors tents up, moving equipment around or just cooking supper can easily get your body a bit dirty. Sure, you can clean on your own by hand, yet wouldn’t a warm shower drop so well?

Camping in Comfort – Ideas You Never Considered

Camping in convenience for most individuals appears to be an oxymoron. This is not so. Today you have a great deal of outdoor camping eases that make your camping trip practically as comfy as staying at residence or in a RECREATIONAL VEHICLE. With today’s camping gear, any kind of comfort you can imagine can be a truth.

Basic Tent Care

To take advantage of your camping experience, it is essential to take appropriate treatment of your outdoor tents. Your camping tent is the backbone to having an excellent night’s rest and also a comfortable, stress-free outdoor camping experience. Your tent can last a life time if you go the added backyard by checking, repairing/maintaining, and air drying your camping tent after every outside tour.

Watching the World Cup in Your Caravan

With the summertime caravanning season well in progress as well as the Football World Cup regarding to start, lots of caravanners are asking themselves the essential inquiry, “just how will I view the match?”. Continue reading for our top pointers to appreciate the honest event.

Why You Need a Knife When You Camp

If you have ever before been out camping, after that you will agree that an outdoor camping knife is among the most crucial tools that you can carry with you when you are going camping. It comes in handy and also has lots of functions a few of which are listed below.

A Camping Table Keeps Your Site Neat and Organized

Even if a campsite supplies an area to prepare and also eat, an outdoor camping table ought to belong to the equipment you bring along. There are several factors for having an added surface area.

5 Things to Ask Yourself When Buying Any Outdoors Product

How typically am I going to utilize this item? Also several people laid out to buy a new outdoor product to contribute to our collections without thinking concerning the amount of use, wear as well as tear the product is visiting during its usage on your outdoor experiences. All frequently we acquire a product that will certainly never last as long as originally intended.

MSR Reactor Camping Stove

MSR is a brand with a background of technology in mountaineering and when it concerns the company’s range of outdoor camping stoves the tale is no various. The company has actually been producing brand-new as well as evermore efficient stove systems for usage in negative and severe climate problems considering that 1973, with its WhisperLite stove released in 1984 and still being made today.

Southern Oregon Coast Camping

From Umpqua Lighthouse State Park in the north to Port of Brookings Harbor Beachfront RV Park not much from the California state line there are lots of camping site choices. Along Oregon’s southerly coast you’ll find miles of beach for public usage and several beautiful outdoor camping areas within a brief walk of the Pacific Ocean. After establishing up camp you can visit historical lighthouses, hike picturesque coastal routes, browse the waves, check out trend swimming pools, or unwind on the beach. I list my favored Oregon Coast camping areas.

Why is Camping So Popular?

Camping in the outdoors is coming to be an increasing number of prominent. Below is a short overview to why outdoor camping is so pleasurable and also why it may turn into one of your preferred leisure activities.

Taking Your Grandkids Camping

After years of camping by on your own, camping with your grandkids can feel like a completely various pet. While you can still delight in most of the very same camping activities with grandchildren, there are certain things that should be done to plan for bringing them along.

Kids Camping Tents – Is it a Chance Or a Danger For Your Kids to Sleep in Their Own Camping Tents?

As moms and dads, we commonly do not like our children out of our view. Yet is it really such a risk to have them sleeping in their very own children camping outdoors tents alongside the big household camping tent? Or might it be a much better possibility than we thought? Discover more regarding the pros and also cons.

You May Also Like