On a whim, I decided to paddle through the city. First, to find out the duration and difficulty of the trip so I could plan the same route with my eight year old son. Second, just because I wanted to get out on the water and had the day off.
I began about 1pm at Bailey Park on the northeast side of town where there is ample parking and a modern boat launch site to put in at. The river was quite slow and I met my first portage at a spillway about 1/2 mile downstream. The in and out was quite easy as there is an elevated boardwalk that is part of the Battle Creek Linear Park that basically runs parallel the length of the river to the end of Jackson St.
The next third of the trip involved navigating about 4 or 5 deadfalls crossing the river, nothing too difficult. As I passed through downtown, past the Kellogg House, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the back side of Clara's on the River (restaurant) there were some children just out of school that seemed quite amazed that there was someone floating down the river.
When I got to the Washington St. Bridge, I had to portage again as the bottom under the bridge was merely concrete slabs leading to another rocky spillway. Getting out was easy, getting in proved to be a task as the shore was lined about three feet out with large rocks and the current coming off the spillway didn't make it easy. I managed and with some navigating of the shallow rocky bottom I was on my way again.
About 100 yards from Washington St. the Battle Creek River joins into the Kalamazoo River and there is where I got my seat wet trying to paddle into the stronger current of the Kalamazoo. A short paddle to the shallows to empty the water from my kayak and I was off again.
The river (now the Kalamazoo) widens quite a bit at this point and the current slows to a VERY leisurely pace. The rest of my trip was very quiet and peaceful (aside from the road construction on Jackson St.) At the end of my trip, I took out at a pull-off on the west end of Jackson St. where there is minimal parking on a dirt lot. It had been about four hours from my put-in point and strapping the kayak to the roof, I was headed home for dinner.
Put-in: Bailey Park just off of Roosevelt St. and NE Capital Ave. on the north end of Battle Creek.
Take-out: The end of Jackson St. where it turns and becomes Stringham Rd. on the west side of the city.
USGS.gov maplocator for Topos (not really necessary though)
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)