FLAT RIVER - Burroughs' Self Supported River LOOP

by  JJFerring

A self-supported trip created by JJFerring

Trip Overview

One of the rare self supported river loops in Michigan. Park along Flat River Dr. on the north side of the road. Walk the sketchy bank down to the put in on Flat River by the dam spillway. Not a strong current and far away from the spillway so there isn't any danger launching here. However, the slope down from the road to the river is eroded and foot placement is tricky even without carrying boats. Once in the water, you can paddle out into the backwaters of the dam. Hardly any currant as this looks more like a lake than a river in this section. Easy enough to paddle across to the right side of the dam where the portage site is well marked. Can be a bit slimy and mucky getting out. Carrying boats across the portage is fairly easy as its a gradual slope down to the water. Big rocks make the put in spot a little cumbersome and watch out for ankle twisters. Would love to see this portage spot rebuilt with strategic rock placement to create a safer eddy to put boats in. After heavy rainfall or spring melt, the dam can be PUMPING out water making the start of this section difficult for weak/inexperienced paddlers. Once you're past the tail water, the river slows down to a manageable and calm stream. Still fairly shallow and you have to watch for rocks and boulders peppered throughout the riverbed. There are a few houses along the bank, but it is mostly wilderness. The water gets a little shallow around Burroughs bridge and there's usually a fly fisherman or two out there. So much wildlife can be seen on this short stretch! Exit just after Flat River bridge on the left. A 3 minute - 1/4 mile walk back to the vehicle at the put in. I've timed myself at 50 minutes with hard paddling or 1.5 hours as a leisure paddle.

Safety Notes

Use caution at the dam spillway especially after spring melt or after heavy rainstorms.

Gear Notes

Good for canoes and kayaks. Tougher for SUPs due to dam spillway and shallow water.

Portage Notes

Can be mucky at take out and rocky at put in. Strong spillway current creates a fast eddy back to the tailwater.

Trip Details

  • Trip Dates: 6/29/2024
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Number of Portages: 1

Trip Location