Muskegon River, M115 to River Bend Bluffs

A self-supported trip created by BeachHazards

Trip Overview

Day 1:

Put in at Old Log Resort and Campground at M115. Launch was a sandy beach that can be driven right up to. There was a small fee to launch our boats.

17 miles took approximately 5 hours to reach Evart Riverside Park West. The river had a decent flow and great views. Many spots to get out of the boat to stretch and rest. We had planned to stay at Riverside Park East, but there was only a deer trail to reach the water. Riverside Park West had a handicapped boat launch. Few spots were suitable for a hammock. Hot showers were available.

Day 2:

24.5 miles took approximately 8 hours to reach Paris Park. The river was a mix of rather still water with a few rocky, fast moving areas. Saw a few floaters throughout the day. This stretch is likely busy during holiday weekends in the summer, as numerous liveries are in the area. If you need a break, take it at the first opportunity, as there are some long stretches that are not suitable to break at. Some homeowners had signs to show how far to Paris Park, and the final sign indicates that Paris Park is 0.3miles ahead on river right. The launch is a small sandy beach.

Paris Park had many trees suitable for a hammock. Showers had the temperature pre-set and very high pressure. We were informed that "this isn't a party campground" and learned later that a nearby camp is where the party people go, and the quiet night was appreciated.

Day 3:

14 miles took approximately 4 hours to reach River Bend Bluffs. The river started out with lots of small rapids, especially going through Big Rapids. The rapids were not challenging, but required attention. Keep a paddle in the water for stability and you shouldn't flip. This section would be fun to float in a tube. There were many spots to stop and rest. After Big Rapids, the river soon slowed. With 1.5 miles to go, it was closer to a lake. The final 0.5 miles had powered watercraft.

River Bend Bluffs was not a bluff, but a small sandy/muddy beach with a parking lot. A recreation passport is required if you plan to park here. Not having to haul the boats and gear up a bluff was a great relief. An improved outhouse was present, and was large enough to change clothes in.

Flow was approximately 750 ft3/s as measured at the Evart station. Water was low and the river bottom ranged from sandy to very rocky. There were no portages. The river was quite diverse and included stretches with many houses, and completely wild areas. Sections with slower moving water (1-1.5mph) were broken up by sections of rocky rapids (3-4 mph). With the water as low as it was, careful maneuvering was required to avoid bottoming out, and a couple times we had to exit out boats to get back into the current. Lots of wildlife was present including deer, various ducks, pileated woodpeckers, kingfishers, great blue herons and too many turtles to count.

Safety Notes

Be careful going through the rapids in Big Rapids. Some were on the upper end of class 1. Wear a PFD.

Trip Details

  • Trip Dates: 6/2/2023-6/4/2023
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location