Kalamazoo River in Michigan

by  guest-paddler

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

Kalamazoo River - D Ave to Darrow Park

Four of us took to the Kalamazoo River this past Saturday between D Ave and Darrow Park in Plainwell in our kayaks. This was our first time on this section. The previous weekend we floated on the same river from Trowbridge Dam to City of Allegan & also the Allegan Dam to Pipeline Landing.

We kayak nearly every weekend all spring, summer and early fall. We've kayaked on the Black River from Bangor to South Haven, The Dowagiac River, the Paw Paw River, and the Thornapple River.

The worst hazard we had to deal with were several recent downed trees stretching bank to bank between Plainwell dam and downtown. 2 of us were caught up in it as we came around the bend and were shot between and under the low trees like a pinball machine. We never capsized, but took on a bit of water and hit our heads several times.

Our warning to everyone... Stay off the rivers until the water levels return to their norm!!!!!! The two of us that were caught up have more than 200 miles of river experience and This was the scariest experience ever on the river.. God's grace and experience is the only thing that saved our lives. We knew what to do and alerted the 2 others behind us of the impending danger ahead. They were able to take their kayaks to the side and paddle through the overflow on land to go around.

On another note....up river from the dam, we spotted a blue kayak with its front end shaped into a #7. There was also a fairly new blue lifejacket attached to it.
We pray that the owner/paddler is safe!!!!


No fees to get on the Kalamazoo River. But if you put in on D Ave., you do so at a Private Residence and they charge $1 per boat and $1 per vehicle left on property.

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Advanced
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location