One of the most amazing aspects of Antrim county is the amount of paddling options exist. From the vastness of the Big Lake (Michigan) to the numerous streams, rivers and lakes that adorn Antrim County, there is no shortage of paddling options. Did you know that you can essentially paddle from Ellsworth to Lake Michigan? Dams exist in Bellaire and Elk Rapids, but historically there has always been a water trail.
Long before the paving of roads and laying down of rail lines, the super highway of the region was the water. In Antrim county, jump on the water at 6 mile lake and head north till you reach the town of Ellsworth. From there, the water trail turns south and dumps into Ellsworth Lake and continuing south through Wilson Lake, Ben-Way Lake, Green River, Hanley Lake and through the town of Central Lake. Continuing south into Intermediate Lake and into the Intermediate river, the water trail flows into the town of Bellaire where a Dam requires a portage. Maybe take a short break and have a beer at Short’s Brewery.
Leaving town, the water trail drops into Lake Bellaire and heads south to the mouth of Grass river, one of the best nature preserves in all of Antrim county. Grass river slowly turns west and rolls into Clam Lake and then Clam river which empties into Torch Lake. Stop off at the dockside if you are hungry or thirsty. Once entering Torch lake, the trail heads south again until you reach the south end sandbar at Torch Lake which drains into the Torch River and into Lake Skegemog. Head west again and you’ll pass the point the leads into Elk Lake. Turn North and the village of Elk Rapids, along the shores of Lake Michigan awaits.
Check out http://www.paddleantrim.com/ for further information regarding events.