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Kent Lake/Kensington Metropark in Michigan

by  guest-paddler

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

This route provides touring kayakers about 5 miles of lake paddling before the Huron River mouth, when launching from little Kent Lake in Island Lake State Park. After launching, you paddle underneath the I-96 overpass and enter Kensington Metropark. The next two miles take you across Kent Lake in a park-like setting. After this, the next two miles are undeveloped and relatively isolated stretches of lake, until you come to the Dawson Road overpass, where you reach the mouth of the Huron. There is a county canoe camp just upstream. Longer touring kayaks and fiberglass boats may want to turn around at this point, but you have a canoe or a rec plastic kayak, you can continue upstream another two miles to Downtown Milford (there is one portage ramp just before Milford).

Powerboats are only found in Kent Lake, no PWCs are permitted, and there is a 25 mph speed limit. The undulating coast and many islands offer route flexibility, and the bird and animal life is pretty good for a metropolitan area. Between October and June, the water level is lowered about 2' so watch out for stumps during this time. During spring there is a considerable lake weed bloom, but the county harvests these at least once during early summer.

All in all, this is a great medium distance route close to the Metro Detroit area.


Restrooms at Island Lake State Park, restrooms and refreshments at the two Metropark beaches.


State Park sticker.


I-96 just east of I-75; exit at Kensington Rd. and go South toward Island Lake State Park. Follow Kensington Rd. thru the Grand River Ave. intersection and turn left into the park less than one mile from the freeway. Go straight through the toll gate (you have to buy a daily or annual state park permit) and follow the drive down to the lake.

Trip Details

  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water

Trip Location