The Huron River Water Trail begins in the Proud Lake State Recreation area in Oakland County just east of Milford. The first four miles are completely within the recreation area. Then a mile past the recreation area you will find yourself in Milford.  Here you may stop in Central Park for a picnic or take a break from paddling and eat a restaurant in downtown Milford just steps away. After you leave Milford, the next 20 miles are within nearly contiguous parkland comprised of Kensington Metropark, Island Lake State Recreation Area and Huron Meadows Metropark. Half of the distance through Kensington Metropark is on Kent Lake, a large and sometimes windy lake with multiple access points. Going through Island Lake State Recreation Area you will find a tremendous variety of scenery including marsh lined shorelines and places where the tree canopy covers the entire river. The stretch from Island Lake State Recreation Area to the access site at Huron Meadows Metropark is not as well traveled as the other segments.  In this five mile stretch you may need to portage around some fallen trees that block the river in a few places. The last nine mile segment is comprised of a chain of small to mid-size cottage lined lakes connected by short stretches of natural banked river. Expect to encounter motor boat traffic in this area during the summer months.

Recommended River Trips

One way trips with the river current.

  • Proud Lake State Recreation Area  – 2.8 mile / 1.5 hours. This is an easy paddle for novices and takes you through the marsh and tree lined river banks of the Proud Lake Recreation Area.  The current is gentle enough to be paddled both directions.  Serviced by Heavner Canoe & Kayak Rental.  See Route on Interactive Map.
  • Proud Lake State Recreation Area to Milford – 2.3 mile / 1 hour. This is an easy paddle for novices and takes you through the marsh and tree lined river banks of the Proud Lake Recreation Area to downtown Milford.  The current is gentle enough to be paddled both directions.  Serviced by Village Canoe RentalSee Route on Interactive Map.
  • Milford to Kensington Metropark – 4.8 miles / 2 hours.  There are numerous variations on this trip depending on where you put in or take out. For those looking to rent a canoe, the following are a few of the trips offered by Village Canoe Rental and Heavner Canoe & Kayak Rental. See Route on Interactive Map.
  • Milford to Dawson Road – 4 Mile / 2.5 hours. This route will take you through the natural shoreline of the two parks, Hubbell Pond, Milford and requires a portage around Hubbell Dam (a canoe slide makes this a relatively easy process).
  • Milford to the East Boat Launch – 7 mile / 5 hour trip. This route continues past Dawson Road of the previous trip into the flat water of Kent Lake.
  • Island Lake State Recreation Area – 5.4 mile / 2.5 hour trip. While the trip starts out with a portage around the Kent Lake Dam, you soon forget about that and feel as if you have been transported into a remote part of northern Michigan. Serviced by Heavner Canoe & Kayak Rental. Interactive Map of Route

Recommended Flat Water Paddling Areas

Easy round-trip paddling that does not require any transportation arrangements.

  • Proud and Moss Lakes – about 2 miles of flat water above the Proud Lake Dam. Access from the Proud Lake Campground Boat Launch or the access site on the north side of Proud Lake.
  • Proud Lake to Hubbell Dam – this nearly 6 mile long stretch is a combination of flat water and gently flowing river that can be paddled both ways.  Access points include the Proud Lake Campground Boat Launch, the access site on the north side of Proud Lake, the Wixom Road Access Site or from Central Park in Milford.
  • Hubbell Pond – about 1 mile of flat water above Hubbell Dam. Access from Central Park in Milford.
  • Kent Lake – about 5 miles of flat water above the Kent Lake Dam with many bays to explore. Multiple access points in Kensington Metropark and and access point from Island Lake State Recreation Area.

Liveries

This stretch of river is serviced by two liveries. The both have canoe and kayaks for rent. Follow the link to the livery websites for more information.

  • Village Canoe Rental – Located in Milford (on the east side of town) near mile marker 100. They offer trips from Milford downstream to multiple locations in Kensington Metropark, provide transportation upriver to Proud Lake State Recreation Areas for a paddle back to the livery.  Link to Village Canoe Rental
  • Heavner Canoe & Kayak Rental – Has two locations on the Huron River, Proud Lake State Recreation Area and Island Lake State Recreation Area. From Proud Lake they offer 1 to 6 hour trips to Milford, various locations in Kensington Metropark and their livery at Island Lake. From Island Lake they offer 1 to 3 hour trips to locations within the state recreation areas. At both locations they offer flat water paddling on Proud Lake and Island Lake.  Link to Heavner Canoe & Kayak Rental