The Washtenaw County section begins in Baseline Lake and travels 36 miles to the Ford Lake Dam. Baseline Lake is part of a chain of lakes that include Portage Lake that offer excellent flat water paddling opportunities, especially in the shoulder seasons when there are few motor boats on the water. Just south of Portage Lake is the Flook Dam below which are 16 miles of free flowing river and one of the most popular canoe routes on the Huron River. Most of this segment is a designated natural river with a mostly natural tree-lined shoreline and few private residences. This stretch of river is gently flowing suitable for novice paddlers with the exception of two rapids (Hudson Mills and Delhi) that should be portaged around by all but the most adept paddlers. The City of Dexter lies in the middle of this segment and the downtown may be accessed by a short paddle up Mill Creek.
The next 15 stretch is bordered mostly by parkland as the river cuts through and offers vistas into the Cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. There is an exciting series of constructed cascades that bypasses the Argo Dam in Ann Arbor that may be run by kayaks or adept canoeists. There are two other dams between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti that require short portages. Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti offer numerous opportunities to get out of your boat, explore and have a meal. The last five mile stretch is on Ford Lake which has numerous parks with access points lining its shoreline. Expect motor boat traffic on the lake. On windy days it would be prudent to stick close to the shorelines on this large lake.
Recommended River Trips
The following are some one way trips with the river current.
- Hudson Mills to Delhi – 9.5 mile / 3.5 hour trip. Very scenic stretch of river that does not require any portaging and an opportunity to stop in Dexter for lunch. Serviced by Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery and Outfitters. See Route on Interactive Map.
- Delhi to Argo – 7.3 miles / 2.5 hours. Scenic mix of river and flatwater. Serviced by Argo Park Livery. See Route on Interactive Map.
- Argo to Gallup – 3.5 mile / 1.5 hours. An easy and fun trip through Ann Arbor’s riverfront parks. Serviced by Gallup Park Livery. See Route on Interactive Map.
Argo and Gallup Parks in Ann Arbor both currently offer inclusive universal access launches for everyone, including paddlers with disabilities. Universal access launches are under construction at Kensington and Hudson Mills metroparks. Learn how to use a universally accessible canoe kayak launch.
Recommended Flat Water Paddling Areas
Easy round-trip paddling that does not require any transportation arrangements.
- Argo Pond – about 2 miles of river between Barton Dam and Argo Dam. Access from Argo Park Livery or Bandemer Park.
- Geddes Pond – about 2.5 miles or river between Nickels Arboretum and Dixboro Dam. Access from Gallup Park Livery.
- Barton Pond – about 3.5 miles of river between rapids located near mile 56.5 and Barton Dam. Access from Barton Park or informal launch on Huron River Drive near Maple Road.
This stretch of river is serviced by three outfitters. All have canoe and single person and two-person/tandem kayaks for rent. Follow the link to their websites for more information.
- Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery and Outfitters – Located in Delhi Metropark (on the west side of Delhi Road) near mile marker 58. They provide transportation upriver to Delhi and Hudson Mills Metroparks for a paddle back to the livery. Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery and Outfitters.
- Argo Park Livery – Operated by City of Ann Arbor, is located near mile marker 51 on the north side of Ann Arbor. They offer flat water paddling on Argo Pond including stand-up paddle board rentals, tubing on the Argo Cascades, a universal access dock, transportation upriver to Delhi Metropark and Barton Park and transportation back from Gallup Park. Argo Park Livery
- Gallup Park Livery – Operated by City of Ann Arbor, is located near mile marker 47 on the west side of Ann Arbor. Facilities include an accessible dock and a café. They offer flat water paddling on Gallup Pond, a universal access dock, and transportation upriver to Barton Park for a paddle back to the livery. Gallup Park Livery
Recommended Rapid Runs
Short runs of rapids that can be done multiple times by a short walk with a kayak.
- Delhi Rapids – in Delhi Metropark. Should only be run by experienced kayakers.
- Mill Creek Rapids – in Dexter’s Mill Creek Park. Man-made whitewater feature suitable for experienced kayakers. No openings in the rock walls, boats will likely scrape rocks. Hydraulic effect (hole) in high water conditions. Adjacent to Downtown Dexter restaurants.
- Argo Cascades – in Ann Arbor’s Argo Park. Moderate man-made cascades. Series of 1.5 to 2 foot drops between pools that bypass the Argo Dam. A paved pathway alongside the cascades provides easy walking back to the top of the cascades.