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Clinton River in Michigan

Trip Overview

Launched at Yates Park at 7:40 AM on August 11, 2018 and landed at Sterling Heights Rotary Park. The trip took 4 hours and 45 minutes. Water level was pretty low. Yates Park to Heritage Park: I've paddled this stretch in the past and it is very fun: swift water, many turns. I'm an above-average kayaker, certainly not an expert. I do not consider this stretch challenging at this time of year. Caution: More challenging in spring/early summer or after heavy rains. Along the way, I saw lots of wildlife (deer, turkeys, muskrats, herons, ducks, etc.) There really is no civilization near the river until you get to M-59. I did not see any kayakers along this stretch. There was a point where the river was "closed, under construction" and a place to portage was created. However, when I went, the river was open and I did not need to portage. I made it to Heritage Park launch/landing site in about 2.5 hours. Heritage Park to Sterling Heights Rotary Park: Once you pass Heritage Park, the river is pretty lazy. Last year when I paddled this stretch, there were a lot of downed trees and I had to portage a few times. This year, it was all clear and you could see evidence of logs cut. No exciting wildlife to see, but this could be due to the time of day and the fact that this is popular for kayaking tours that start around 9:30 AM. I passed a couple of groups during this stretch. Most of this stretch has Clinton River Park and Dodge Park to the east. You can see bikers, runners and walkers. There are several landings along this stretch if you want to stretch your legs or picnic. After you pass these parks, you will encounter Rammler Golf Course. Be on the lookout for flying golf balls. There are plenty on the riverbed if you are looking for some spares. Getting out of the water at Sterling Heights Rotary Park was a little challenging because of the low water level. The ground was very mucky and my feet instantly sunk. Fortunately, there was a downed tree 15 yards before the landing and I used that to pull myself up. Separate Trips Last Year: Yates Park to Heritage Park - Similar to description above. Heritage Park to Shady Side Park - Stretch beyond Sterling Heights Rotary Park described above was continuation of the lazy river. I think this was about a 3-4 hour trip. Not much current. Shady Side Park to Lake St. Clair (Belle Maer Harbor - I have friends to dock there) - Very lazy river, but very little tree coverage. Sunscreen is advised. It's nice to go through downtown Mt. Clemens and there are plenty of boats/marinas lining the stretch after I-94. There are even a few restaurants you can stop at. This was a 5-6 hour trip. There was no current and when you got closer to Lake St. Clair, you had to battle the wind.
  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Number of Portages: 0
  • Portage Description: The river was "closed, under construction" and a place to portage was created. However, when I went, the river was open and I did not need to portage.
More challenging in spring/early summer or after heavy rains.
Low water level.

Locations on this Trip

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