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Dowagiac River in Michigan

Trip Overview

The Dowagiac River is a shaded tree-lined paddle. The current is moderate with no rapids, but we encountered a fair amount of tight spots due to blow downs in the river as well as two spots where we had to portage over trees across the river. Two of us hauled our boats up the bank and around the tree - I do not recommend this lots of itch weed, mosquitoes and mud.

Overall the trip was great. We got started early on a somewhat overcast day (read: pretty normal for SW Michigan) and had the river all to ourselves. Saw some wildlife mostly birds, ducks and geese, squirrels and chipmunks, lots of deer tracks but no deer sightings this trip.

We put in at Middle Crossing Road which is NW of Dowagiac, put in was a little steep and muddy but doable. We left one truck there parked along the shoulder of the road.

Our take out was about 12 miles down river at Arthur Dodd Park on Creek Road. We were on the water for about three and a half hours. River is mostly quiet - there are areas that have traffic noise from nearby roads, there are a few houses, but the river is mostly wooded.

We did not see any suitable places to stop along this stretch of the river but Dodd Park has a nice picnic area. The park has hand pump water and pit toilets, picnic tables, charcoal grills and pavilions.

Overall it was a nice paddle down the quiet tree lined Dowagiac River.


There is a canoe livery on the river. It's located on the east side of 51 north of Dowagiac. They bill the river as "family friendly" and - except for the numerous blow down across the river - it is.


The Dowagiac is in the Southwest corner of Michigan, the river is west of the city of Dowagiac, which is southwest of Kalamazoo, MI and north of South Bend and Elkart IN. on Michigan highway 51.


Arthur Dodd Park

  • 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