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Black River (Van Buren Co.) in Michigan

Trip Overview

Generally the river is small and winding with many instances of dead fall. There is a group that maintains the river but with low water levels at the time, there were many logs exposes that probably aren't normally exposed. The river moves steadily but not fast. The water is clean and mostly clear. The river is almost always shaded by the abundance of trees on along the banks. The river is typically 2-5 feet deep.

A flotilla of six kayaks and one canoe put in at the CR-384 bridge, the access was fairly easy, a short walk down a slight embankment to the river. We left a car at the access site on E Wells St just North of Dunkley Ave.

The trip was actually a lot of fun due to the constant twist and turns. As this trip was my first time on a river I really enjoyed the route planning required to navigate around dead fall and other obstacles. The river was great up until the merger of the north branch, at that point the water become flat. I do not mind paddling flat water but after about eight miles on the river, two miles of flat water is tough.

The next time I paddle the Black River, I will put in at 16th Ave and take out at the 71 1/2 St bridge. That should be about a four hour, seven or eight mile, trip.


Small pull over east of the bridge. Nice parking lot and access at take out.


M-43 to County Road 384 about two miles east on CR-384




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

Locations on this Trip