Betsie River


River Description:

Betsie River has a steady, swift current to keep you moving. It is a very crooked river with many overhanging trees. There is one designated portage (about 200 feet long) which is Homestead Falls. The Betsie River is a state designated wild and scenic natural river. From Thompsonville down to Fred’s Landing the water depth averages 2-3 feet. This same stretch of river is bordered by hardwood-covered hills which drop off to the river bottom of conifers. The river drops down into Manistee County for a few miles, then enters Benzie county again at County Line Road #602.

Many small streams run into the river where the trout like to feed, and hide in the log jams from the old logging days. Trout are easily fished by canoe or from shore. From Fred’s Landing to Homestead Dam (now known as Homestead Falls) the river has been altered from floodwaters of the past hydro elastic dam and some sand bars may occur. The river from Homestead Falls to the second bridge on River Road becomes deeper and wider. This section is the easiest to canoe. From second bridge on River Road to Frankfort the river passes through a wildlife sanctuary and some open marsh to the mouth of the river.

Difficulty: Easy


Betsie Lake Access

Site Amenities:
– Parking Area
– Paved Boat Launch
– Information
– Fishing Dock/Pier

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Betsie Valley Access

Site Amenities:
– Primitive Parking Area: Fee: No
– Toilets
– Access to Betsie Valley Trail

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River Road Access

Site Amenities:
– Primitive Parking Area: Fee: No

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Grace Road Access

Site Amenities:
– Parking Area: Fee: Unknown
– Toilets
– Lauch Available

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Homestead Dam

Site Amenities:
– Parking Area
– Restrooms Available
– Picnic Tables/Area
– Portage Required if coming from up river

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Fred's Landing

Site Amenities:
– Primitive Small Parking Area

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County Line Road

Site Amenities:
– Drop-In/Pull-Out Only, No parking Area

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Dzubanek/Kurick Road

Site Amenities:
– Primitive Small Parking Area

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Haze Road

Site Amenities:
– Washed Out Road Access – No direct parking area.  Drop-In/Pull Out Only Recommended

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Wolf Road

Site Amenities:
– Paved Parking Area
– Toilets
– Information Station

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Long/Meadow Road

Site Amenities:
– Primitive Small Parking Area

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Grass Lake Forest Campground

Site Amenities:
– Parking Area : Fee: Yes
– Primitive Camping Available
– Information Station
– Toilets

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Consult with the rental liveries below for float and trip times.


Top Family Friendly Float Segment:

The river from Homestead Falls to the second bridge on River Road becomes deeper and wider. This section is the easiest to canoe. From second bridge on River Road to Frankfort the river passes through a wildlife sanctuary and some open marsh to the mouth of the river.

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The Michigan's Great Outdoors collaborative consists of five Northern Michigan counties all working together to promote tourism in the region.  With so many hiking, biking, winter sports, and ORV trails in the region that dynamically connect these counties, this site is devoted to educate the first-time visitor to the region looking to explore the great outdoors for the first time.  We welcome you to browse this site and explore all this region has to offer.