The Island Loop Route National Water Trail

A very unique paddle crossing 4 different water bodies, along the international border

Begin at North River Road Park, or Bakers Field Park.  Get into the Black River easily by using the ADA accessible kayak launch.  Head downriver, and then up the Canal to the left, heading east.  Enter Lake Huron after passing under the Taintor Gate.  Head straight out into Lake Huron untill you clear the sandbars, then turn south toward the bridges. Then paddle under the Blue Water Bridges, along the international border with Canada while in the St. Clair River.  Enter the mouth of the Black River to the west, through the City of Port Huron, and back to River Front Park.  You can also begin and end at the new Bakers Field Park in Port Huron Township.  They also have an ADA accessible kayak launch!

Up the Canal, toward Lake Huron
Up the Canal, toward Lake Huron

The Taintor Gate at the canal closes automatically when there is a strong N-NE wind. It is open 96% of the time!  Closure protects the canal from getting filled up with silt and sand from the lake.  Boaters, check to see if the gate is open before attempting the Island Loop. The only way to check the gate is to drive by it on Gratiot road to see if it is open.

National Park Service National Water Trail
National Park Service

Most of the waterways along this route are calm and slow, except near the Blue Water Bridges.  This route is best attempted in the morning, before weekend recreational boating traffic creates rough water conditions under the Blue Water Bridges.  The section under the Blue Water Bridges should only be attempted by experienced paddlers on a calm day.

Wear your Life Jacket (PFD) at all times! Have your ID with you, as the waters are patrolled by Border Patrol Agents and they can stop you at anytime and you must prove your citizenship!

Click on the 'Print a Map' link for a detailed map.


Level - Intermediate (due to international shipping traffic and current)

Length - 10 miles

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Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Financial assistance for this project was provided, in part, by the Michigan Coastal Management Program, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration