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Shiawassee River in Michigan

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

Headwaters of the Shiawassee River

On a beautiful Friday morning Doug Lanyk, Steve H, his daughter Shae and I met for adventure.

The HeadWaters of a river is usually in a place hard to get to, covered by brush, swamp and fen. Around 9:45am we started shuttling vehicles and getting underway, by 10:30am we were on the water. Since it was the beginning of the paddle season we forgot sunscreen, a hat to block the sun, etc.

We began exploratory kayak paddling a bit West at first, passing Karl Shultz Park and then into Davisburg TroutPond stopping near the railroadtracks where we turned around and began the real adventure of the day.

We paddled, walked, and dragged the kayaks thru reeds, over rocks, mud, silt, thru numerous culverts (some smaller than others), up and over all sorts of stuff, portaged a few times, laughed, grimaced, and basically had a great day on the Shiawassee River. Many portions were only 6 feet in width and quite shallow, others a bit wider and a bit deeper, a mix of everything in between.

At the takeout 4:45pm, in Holly, MI upon the Millpond near WaterWorks Park, the GPS registered 9.75 miles of fun. It's not exactly a trip I would recommend to everyone; it was a lot of work, but we got lucky with the water levels and weather!

--Remember these are only the HeadWaters of a river that flows 110 miles - many, many parts of the Shiawassee River are easily accessible without having to slog thru thru brush, mud, silt, dragging your kayak, etc.

Launching at WaterWorks Park in Holly, Michigan at the canoe/kayak boat launch is easy and will allow you a 7 mile paddle with no obstructions until the takeout at Strom Park in Fenton, Michigan

What we did was go all the back to the source.






We launched near Mill Pond Park and the Davisburg Park Golf Course - (Broadway /Davisburg Road near Dilley Road). It's a little road that is severely washed out and drops sharply into a small parking lot near the waters edge in Davisburg, Michigan.


Shiawasse River Trail Map:

More Info about Oakland County Wetlands

Trip Details

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

Trip Location