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Thornapple River in Michigan

Trip Overview

We put in below the dam in Middleville and paddled/floated about 90 minutes to the take out at Parmalee Road. We didn't see anyone else on the river this Sunday afternoon. There were some trees partially blocking to paddle around, but we never had to exit the kayaks on this stretch. Very quiet and pretty part of the river.

There were a few interesting homes to view, but mostly trees and birds. Due to the heavy rains, we were surprised to see/hear numerous "waterfalls" entering the river (okay, they were mostly drainage pipes, but still sounded cool). We passed a home with a large pole with a gargoyle on top where you float under a bridge to their home - interesting.

We exited the river on the right side at the bridge at Parmalee - no signs, but that is the first major bridge you come to, so it's easy to spot.


Hotels in Grand Rapids; campground at 108th Street; restaurants and bars in Caledonia and Middleville.




M-37 south to Middleville - east to river/dam. Turn left past river and into gravel lot at outdoor store. Just past small apt. building are steps down to river. Small lot to park - no facilities.

FYI: Parking at Parmalee Road (our take-out) is on the shoulder only.


Michigan County Map (Barry County)

  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip