I could not believe the stretch from Yates Cider Mill all the way down through the River Bends in Shelby into Downtown Utica. This is Detroit Areas best kept secret! Who knew that this type of white water adventure was in Macomb County, let alone anywhere in the midwest. Heck, I thought that Macomb County was where everyone goes to get out on Lake St. Clair, The Greatest Lake.
For the Best River Paddling in the Midwest, start off by grabbing some friends and begin your adventure at Yates; the first two or so miles move quite fast, so you are basically just steering around tight meanders and viewing the scenic high banks full of white cedars and Paw Paw Trees. Once you’re beyond the foot bridge in River Bends, the nature still abounds, however, the river is still pretty technical but is tamed a bit in comparison. This stretch is not for kids or others if there is high water.
This is the best urban (but feels like “Up North Michigan”) paddling I have ever done. This place needs to be on the “How do we get Amazon HQ2 here”, because this is the Clinton River that is not to be missed. Make a Pit Stop in Downtown Utica where you can stop off, tie up your kayak and grab a burger and beer at one of the many outdoor cafes. Finally, you can finish the trip up at Heritage Park, which had handicapped accessibility.
The Sterling Heights sections of the Clinton River are a close second and more family friendly from Heritage Park all the way to Rotary Park. Budd Park in Clinton Township all the way down to Downtown Mount Clemens is another close 2nd or 3rd as it is wider and deeper but very tranquil compared to what’s upstream.
For Great Lakes Coastal Paddling, don’t miss out on Lake St. Clair Metropark as Black Creek Marsh is a wildfowl and angler’s dream. The area up by Historic Downtown New Baltimore is at the top of Anchor Bay and there you have crystal clear Great Lakes waters, clean beaches, and an historic Downtown with plenty of places to eat and have libations.
Congrats to Macomb County for having the best paddling experience in the Midwest. The guy who’s pushing all of this…what’s his name? Gerry? … or something or another deserves a huge raise! Just saying!