Fall Color River Rafting: 5 Places in Michigan that Will Hook You Up

Jordan River Michigan Fall Rafting

Splash Into Michigan’s Fall Colors – Float Down a River!

Michigan is on the map when it comes to captivating fall colors. And while driving or even taking a chairlift ride is a common way to take in the scenery, have you considered rafting?

Rafting gives you a whole new perspective – and it’s a perfect activity for people who haven’t paddled much. Bring the toddlers and the grandparents, the whole family can likely fit into your raft and enjoy the experience together. And, because river rafts are super stable, its hard to tip over.

The key – you need someone who knows how to steer. Everyone else just needs to paddle a little here and there.

Fall River Rafting Spots

If that sounds good, here’s a list of top places in Michigan offering fall river rafting rentals:

1) Riverside Canoe Trips

  • River: Platte River
  • Address: 5042 N Scenic Hwy, Honor, MI 49640
  • Description: Tucked away in the famous Sleeping Bear Dunes, the Platte River offers a tranquil float that promises vibrant colors and serene nature views. Plus, in October, the salmon are running and you’ll likely see the sturdy fish swimming upstream! Beyond that, you’ll end up at Lake Michigan, too, which is an added treat.
  • Website: canoemichigan.com
platte river in the fall
Platte River in the Fall

2) Pine River Paddlesports

  • River: Pine River
  • Address: 9590 M-37, Wellston, MI 49689
  • Description: The Pine River, near Cadillac, is a fast-moving river that is filled with twists and turns. Navigate through the breathtaking Pine River surrounded by Michigan’s signature fall colors – and if you’re in a raft – you will probably stay dry on your trip.
  • Website: thepineriver.com

3) Jordan Valley Outfitters

  • River: Jordan River
  • Address: 311 N Lake St, East Jordan, MI 49727
  • Description: Jordan River Outfitters allows up to 8 people per raft. The Jordan River is one of the faster-moving rivers in Michigan. It’s spring-fed, crystal clear, and about three to four feet deep. Running through the State Forest, you’ll see a lot of cedar trees and hardwoods hugging its banks. The river is peppered with sticks, branches, and beaver dams, that turn your paddling journey into a game of “how good can you steer? and duck?!” It’s a lot of fun!
  • Trip Durations: Options for 1.5 hours or 3 hours.
  • Phone: (231) 536-0006
  • Website: jvoutfitters.com
Jordan River Michigan Fall Rafting

4) Hinchman Acres

  • River: AuSable River
  • Address: 702 N. Morenci Box 220 Mio, Michigan 48647
  • Description: The AuSable River is one of Michigan’s most lovely rivers. It’s pristine. And it runs through miles of protected forest. It’s also a “Blue Ribbon Trout Stream.” Famous with canoers, it’s also a nice place to float in a raft. High banks covered with trees yield amazing fall color scenes. Nearby River Road and Lumberman’s Monument are also worth a stop if you’re in the area.
  • Phone: (989) 826-3267
  • Website: hinchman.com
au sable river michigan fall colors
Au Sable River in the Fall

5) Wisner Rents Canoes

  • River: Big Muskegon River
  • Address: 25 West Water Street, Newaygo, MI 49337
  • Description: This section of the Big Muskegon River is perfect for paddlers of all skill levels. The river, carving through high banks and low tree-covered areas, offers stunning scenery at every bend. From pine, oak, maple, beech, and aspen trees, you get a visual treat. Also, don’t forget to spot the majestic bald eagles nesting nearby.
  • Trips:
    • Thornapple to Newaygo Long Raft trip (4.5HRS)
    • Newaygo to Anderson Short Raft Trip (2.5 HRS)
  • Website: wisnercanoes.com

6) Big Bear Adventures

  • River: Sturgeon River
  • Address: 4271 S Straits Hwy, Indian River, MI 49749
  • Description: The Sturgeon River is the fastest river in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, although it doesn’t qualify as whitewater. It’s swift current, leaning trees, stumps, and logs are not a problem on a raft trips, though, thanks to the raft’s added stability. All river trips end at Burt Lake State Park.
  • Trips Availability: 7 days a week from May to mid-October (please call ahead on May and October weekdays).
  • Contact: (231) 238-8181
  • Website: bigbearadventures.com

Fun Twist for Fall

All in all, Michigan just keeps offering more ways to appreciate the fall colors!

And, with the option of river rafting, now more people can enjoy a tranquil fall float down the river.

What do you think? Will you go on a fall river float? If you’ve been, let us know about your trip in the comments.

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