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. 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. See 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. 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. Start out by putting in at the river just below the Kent Lake Dam. Use the handy canoe slide. You will feel as if you have been transported into a remote part of northern Michigan as you paddle to the take out at the Placeway Picnic Area near State Park Road. See Route on interactive Map
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.
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 rentals of canoes, sit-in kayaks, sit-on kayaks and two-person/tandem kayaks and pick up and drop off services (no private boats) at multiple locations. Link to Village Canoe Rental
- Heavner Canoe & Kayak Rental – Is located on the Huron River in the Proud Lake State Recreation Area and also offers rentals from the Shorefishing Parking area in Kensington Metropark. Canoes, kayaks and two-person/tandem kayaks are available. Link to Heavner Canoe & Kayak Rental
- Kensington Metropark Boat Rental – Enjoy a day of flat water paddling exploring Kent Lake’s waters and shorelines by watercraft. Canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, rowboats, paddleboats and character pedal boats are available for rent near Maple Beach at the Boat Rental. Link to Kensington Metropark