Can You Canoe Down the Grand River?

If you’re an adventurer who loves to explore the great outdoors, you might be wondering if you can canoe down the Grand River. The answer is yes! The Grand River boasts some of the best canoeing opportunities in Michigan.

What is the Grand River

The Grand River is a river in southern Michigan that runs for 252 miles, starting in Hillsdale County and ending at Lake Michigan. It is the longest river in Michigan and offers a variety of recreational activities such as fishing, kayaking, and of course, canoeing.

Where can I rent a canoe

There are several places along the Grand River where you can rent a canoe or kayak. Some of the most popular outfitters include:

  • Grand River Canoe & Kayak Livery
  • Canoe-Kayak Rental LLC
  • Thornapple Outfitters
  • Kayak-Kayak

These outfitters offer a variety of rental options including half-day, full-day, and multi-day rentals. They also typically provide transportation to and from your starting and ending points.

What do I need to bring

When planning your canoe trip down the Grand River, there are a few essentials that you’ll need to bring with you:

  • Sunscreen: The sun’s UV rays can be intense when you’re out on the water all day.
  • Bug spray: Mosquitoes and other bugs can be bothersome on the river.
  • Water: Staying hydrated is crucial when spending long hours outside.
  • Snacks: Pack some non-perishable snacks to keep your energy up throughout the day.
  • A dry bag: You’ll want to keep your valuables (like your phone and wallet) in a waterproof bag.

What are the best sections to canoe

The Grand River offers a variety of different sections to canoe, each with its own unique beauty and challenges. Here are some of the most popular sections:

Section 1: Robinson Road to Fulton Street

This section of the river is great for beginners or those looking for a short trip. It’s about 7 miles long and takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete. The river is calm with only a few small rapids.

Section 2: Fulton Street to Riverside Park

This section is slightly longer at about 9 miles and takes about 4-5 hours to complete. There are a few more rapids on this section, so it’s best for intermediate paddlers.

Section 3: Riverside Park to Johnson Park

This section is the longest at around 13 miles and takes approximately 6-7 hours to complete. It’s best for experienced paddlers as there are several rapids and obstacles along the way.


In conclusion, canoeing down the Grand River is an excellent way to spend a day (or several) exploring Michigan’s beautiful outdoors. With outfitters available for rentals, essentials that you need to bring with you, and some of the most popular sections mentioned above, you have everything you need for a memorable adventure on the water.

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins