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Galien River in Michigan

Trip Overview

My friend James and I canoed the South Branch of the Galien River from jusr south of US 12 all the way to Lake Michigan through the New Buffalo Harbor. James recently bought property just off US 12 and "the river run through it" We launched our canoe from James'place.

I was surprised by the solid current this far up the river and the isolated beauty of this woodland stream. It was hard going, however, down the south branch as there were numerous trees down in the river that required getting out and wading as the canoe was pulled over them. It became very tiring.

The confluence of the north and south branch is a beautiful spot and made all the hard work worthwhile. There is some kind of county park there as there are benches along one side of the river. It would be interesting to find out if you can drive far enough into the park to get a canoe into the water.

From the confluence down, the Galien was pure pleasure. The river was a bit wider here and while there were still "deadfall" in the water, there was always an interesting a somewhat challenging path through the obstacles.

Eventually, the Galein comes out of the woods and enters a beautiful marshland. The lilypads and flowers along the banks were spectacular during this "lazy" partof the river. As you continue through the marshland, you begin to see some large homes along the river where private slips allow owner to bring their motor boats right into their backyards. Fortunately, there were not a lot motor boats coming up the last stretch of the river before the harbor on the day we passed through.

The river ends with a bit of surprise when you round the bend and finds condo's, huge boats, and lots of people on the New Buffalo beach.

All in all, we had quite a trip down the Galien from remote,tranquil beauty to "hot fun in the summertime".


Take Highway US 12 east of New Buffalo, MI a few miles an you'll the canoe launch spot described in the previous trip report.

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

Locations on this Trip