We wanted a nice paddle and didn't want to drive two cars. The Thornapple River was a good idea. We dropped our kayaks off at a small DNR boat ramp on Irving Road (42.689029,-85.424759) with an outhouse. We then drove back to the dam in Middleville (42.711011,-85.464585) where there is a nice public restroom.
There is a paved bike trail that goes from the dam to just about to the boat launch. You do have to ride on the road for a short bit. We rode there at a leisure pace and I would estimate that it took 40 minutes. We locked our bikes up at the launch and headed down the river.
It was a nice easy paddle. With the dry summer the river was down but we didn't run into low spots. There are hardly any houses and we only passed two other kayaks.
The trip down the river took about two hours but we just let the slow moving river do most of the work. Great day and a nice paddle.
Outhouse at the boat lunch.
Indoor restrooms at the take out point.
No permits needed.
Launch at: Irving Road (42.689029,-85.424759)
Take out at: Middleville (42.711011,-85.464585)