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Little Platte Lake in Michigan

A self-supported trip created by BigJockJoe

Trip Overview

Much has been written about paddling the upper and lower Platte River, and even a few about Platte Lake, but none about paddling the shallow, but challenging Little Platte Lake. If you'd like a real workout, try paddling across this lake in several directions. Although there are many houses built around it, there are empty expanses along the western and northern shores.

Setting out from the public access parking area, the water was extremely calm and visibility was excellent. There are occasional power boats out on the lake, but very few. We decided to cross the lake diagonally, and paddle up the Platte River a short distance and return. On our return trip, the wind had decided to pick up to about 20 mph. We didn't notice the wind on the river portion of our trip, but upon entering the lake it was very evident. We had headwinds and waves cresting over a foot high hitting us at right angles. It was a challenge paddling against these waves, but it was a great workout and we got cooled off at the same time.

I especially liked this lake because it is shallow, and relatively empty of other boaters. We did come across other kayaks, canoes, aluminum fishing boats and pontoon boats spread out over the lake at various times.

If you want a good workout, with water from glassy calm to wavy with various wind conditions, check out Little Platte Lake. The public access has pit toilets, a picnic area, and a sandy launch site with plenty of parking.

If you are bringing your own kayak or canoe to paddle the Platte River, this is another place to check out while in the area. We found it a very peaceful, relaxing paddling spot.


Indigo Bluffs Campground, east of Empire on M72 offers full hookups and a swimming pool. Several hotels and motels around Empire, also close to Traverse City and a large casino right on M72.


You will need to purchase a National Parks Permit (10$) which is good for a week. All parking lots inside the National Park require this permit. No permit is required for the public access parking areas, as these are outside the National Park boundaries.


From the Platte River public access, drive north on M22 about 2 miles to the Little Platte Lake Public Access on right. You will enter the lake on the north end. Deadstrean Road bisects between Platte Lake and Little Platte Lake. If you take the Platte river from Little Platte Lake, you will paddle to Deadstream Road. From there you can portage over the road and continue paddling a short distance and enter Platte Lake, which is much larger and deeper, and has much more boat traffic and water skiers.

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water

Trip Location