Upper and Lower Platte River


River Description:

Upper Platte: Much faster than the lower Platte River.  It is not white water or rapids but very exciting. More oriented towards the experienced canoer. The river on average is between 2-3 feet deep with tight turns, fast current, low hanging branches, and underwater obstacles. A lot of wildlife can be seen including deer, ducks, loons, bald eagles, fish, otters.. just to name a few. This section of the Platte river is exceptionally scenic with limited places to stop along the way. Total trip time is about 3 1/2 hours and ends on Deadstream Road.

Lower Platte: Gentle flowing river with easy gradual turns. As you head down the river you will come into a small lake called Loon Lake. This is part of the lower Platte River, you simply paddle along the right hand side and you will pick the river back up again. This takes approx. 20 minutes to get through. You will also pass through the State of Michigan’s Fish Weir. This is a contraption over the river that has gates that can be lowered to stop the migrating Salmon from going up stream in the fall. The weir is in operation from the middle of August until October. During these months portaging around the weir is necessary. What a great time to see a lot of fish! River depth on average is between 2-3 feet deep with a few holes that are deeper. This is a great trip for the whole family or the beginning canoers. It truly is for all ages and abilities. Total trip time takes 2-21/2 hrs and ends at a sandy beach on Lake Michigan with a beautiful picnic area and modern restroom facilities. You will get out of the river well before it dumps into Lake Michigan.

The Lower Platte River Trip is in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore; therefore, a Park Pass is required for recreating on the river.

Difficulty: Easy (Lower) – Moderate (Upper)


River Amenities/Quick Look:

  • The Lower Platte River Trip is in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore; therefore, a Park Pass is required for recreating on the river.  See the map below for a summary of access points along the Platte River.

LIVERY: Riverside Canoe Trips

Site Amenities:
– Parking Area
– Rentals Available (Tube, Kayak, Canoe, Rafts)
– Trip options available
– Shuttle Service
– General Store/Gas

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Sleeping Bear Parking Area

Site Amenities:
– Parking Area: Fee: Yes
– Toilets
– Launch Site (downhill walk required)
– Picnic Area

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Platte Lake Launch Site

Site Amenities:
– Parking Area: Fee: Yes
– Restrooms Available
– Paved boat launch
– Picnic Tables/Area
– Information Station

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Lake Michigan Road Access

Site Amenities:
– Parking Area: Fee: Yes
– Restrooms Available
– Picnic Tables/Area
– Information Station
– Paved boat launch

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Platte River Beach/Lake MI. Access

Site Amenities:
– Parking Area: Fee: Yes
– Restrooms Available
– Picnic Tables/Area
– Playground Area
– Paved boat launch
– Lake Michigan Beach Access

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Veterans Memorial State Forest Campground

Site Amenities:
– Parking Area: Fee: Yes
– Camping Available
– Picnic Tables/Area

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Indian Hill Road Pickup

Site Amenities:
– No Parking – pick-up only

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Deadstream Road Pickup

Site Amenities:
– Limited Parking – should be used for pick-up only site

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Veterans Memorial >> 3.5 hrs >> Deadstream Road >> 2.0 hrs >> Riverside Canoe Trips/Sleeping Bear Parking Area >> 2.5 hrs >> Lake Michigan

Upper Platte Float Time: 3.5 Hrs
Lower Platte Float Time: 2.5 Hrs


Top Family Friendly Float Segment:

Because it’s mostly shallow, the Lower Platte River offers easy canoeing, kayaking and tubing for groups or families with several trip options available. The trips end at the Lake Township Park at Lake Michigan where there are public restrooms, picnic tables and grills – not to mention incredible views of Sleeping Bear Dunes!

Top Float Under Two Hours:

The lower Platte from the Weir to Lake Michigan takes a little over 2 hours to canoe or kayak and longer to tube. A short tubing trip could start at El Dorado (a launch on Lake Michigan Drive in the park) and end at Lake Michigan.

Unplug. Explore. Michigan's Great Outdoors.

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.