top of page

The Detroit River, Start to Finish

I had been wanting to paddle the full length of the Detroit River for a while and decided that today was the day. Or, very close to the full river at least. There aren't any public boat launches or water access in Grosse Pointe or St. Clair Shores to get the full length without adding quite a few miles. I woke up in the middle of the night, so I decided to get started earlier than originally planned. Unfortunately, it was so early that the place I planned on launching at was still closed.

The fog was extremely thick at the boat ramp I ended up. I had never been there, and visibility was so low that I actually drove past all of the ramps because I couldn't see them 😂. Some fishermen warned me about getting run over, and as this was also a concern of mine, I decided to stay close to shore to avoid other boats until the fog lifted, although I had a compass and headlamp.

It was a peaceful morning, and I paddled behind either a muskrat or river otter for a while. The freighters were using their horns, and it was interesting to be able to hear but not see them. When I reached the Renaissance Center the fog lifted briefly, enough to see the top of the Ambassador Bridge. I had planned on paddling on the far side of Belle Isle and Fighting Island but decided against it. There was no scenery for the first hour and a half or so, but I had an audiobook. I wasn't paying much attention, and actually ended up turning into the Rogue River briefly because the visibility was so low! By the time the fog started lifting, the sun had been up for at least an hour.

By the time I reached Grosse Ile, the fog was pretty much cleared. I decided to paddle on the east side of the island. The houses were interesting to look at, and I enjoyed some of the smaller unpopulated islands in the area. I ended up stopping on Sugar Island to stretch and eat a little, and was happy to find a fossil right where I landed. The artificial reefs in the area are also interesting; I believe they were added to encourage fish spawning. I ended at Lake Erie Metropark, and it ended up being a little over twenty-seven miles. I would definitely like to spend more time in the Lake Erie area, there are a lot of interesting islands to explore.

On the way home, I stopped for a dive call: a lost cell phone. I mention this in this post because there were kayaks involved here as well! Because of the seawall at that location, I ended up having the client paddle out towing a second kayak with my dive gear in the seat. It was the only way to reasonably access the spot.

It was a nice long day with plenty of paddling. More pictures of the trip are below.




Beautiful pics. Fog like that is spooky anywhere, but on the Detroit River ... yikes!. Funny to enter the Rouge River, another spooky waterway! Very nice.😍


Oct 31, 2022

How many hours it took for 27 miles? Have you seen this toxic algae n dead fish in lke Erie?


I would have been so scared in that fog! Great work pushing through! It looks like it was a beautiful view when it was lifting!

bottom of page