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Au Sable River in Michigan

Trip Overview

Three families decided to take our "weekend" trip in the middle of the week to avoid crowds on the river-- a great choice. 6 adults and 6 children, ages 7 to 14.

Camped in Canoe Harbor Campground Wednesday night.

Thursday morning - drove to Paddle Brave Canoe Livery. Canoed the 5 hours from Paddle Brave to Canoe Harbor, stopping for lunch on the bank along the way. This section of the river flows through the beautiful Mason Tract Wilderness area. It was very quite and beautiful. There were more fallen trees and curves in the river than we had counted on making it necessary to spend lots of concentration on avoiding running into things. Arrived at our camp site very tired and in time for dinner.

Friday we canoed another 5 or so hours downstream -- joining up with the main branch of the river before being picked up at McMaster Bridge. Returned to Canoe Harbor for the night again.


Canoe Harbor State Forest Campground features about 50 rustic camp sites. There are pit toilets and pumps for potable water. The camp sites are nice-sized and shaded by tall pines. Some are in the open and sunny. It's about a quarter mile hike from the river to the camp sites. There is also a group camp site closer to the river.


5 Rental aluminum canoes


$15 per night per camp site


I-75 to Roscommon Rd. East on Roscommon Rd. North on Chase Bridge Rd. East on M-72. South on South Branch Rd.


"A Trout Angler's Guide to the Au Sable River"

  • Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip